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January 28, 2008
Habibul Bashar, the former Bangladesh captain, finds himself without any response from the country's Premier League teams just a week before the deadline for inter-club transfers. According to Bashar, as well as his successor Mohammad Ashraful, domestic clubs are reluctant to sign on national players for the three-day tournament due to their international duties.
"Nobody has communicated with me and as far as I know, it is almost similar for 90% of the pool players. It's really surprising," Bashar told the Daily Star, a Dhaka daily. "What so far I have learned is that the clubs are not interested to pay money for the national players because of their international commitments."
Bashar, who plays for Biman Bangladesh on the domestic circuit, and other national pool contemporaries are worried ahead of the February 3 cut-off for confirming teams. Expressing his discontent at the pool policy, which allows a club to buy a maximum of three players from the 21-member list provided by the Bangladesh Cricket Board, Bashar said he preferred the four-player allowance from last season.
"I can't understand why it has reduced this year. I personally believed that the figure should go to more than what it is now as only three to four clubs are going to spend money this season due to their financial crisis."
Ashraful too was surprised that Premier League clubs were not ready to spend money on national players, who will miss the first few matches owing to a home series against South Africa. "We could play only seven matches last season and it's nothing new that national players won't be available for all the matches. But surprisingly the issue has gathered pace this season," he said.
Responding to rumours that some clubs are thinking of including pool players on the basis of match-by-match payment, Ashraful, in the process of negotiating with a club, said it was "totally unacceptable". "In the past we received full contract no matter how many matches we played. In one season, I played only four matches for Biman but I got the full amount.
"Everyone should realise that without national players the country's most prestigious competition will lose charm," he said. "So, showing reluctance towards the national players means you are going to spoil the attraction."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.