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September 15, 2008
The Bangladesh Cricket Board was boosted after receiving pledges of support from several cricketers linked with the rebel Indian Cricket League, but the six players who retired on Sunday failed to appear at its headquarters as requested to discuss the situation.
The BCB had asked the six to meet with officials on Monday, but the Daily Star reported that none of them turned up. Former captain Habibul Bashar and wicketkeeper Dhiman Ghosh were believed to have left the country for India, while the exact whereabouts of the other four were not known.
The board claimed to have tried to contact them, but it emerged that they had only sent them text messages. "SMS is not a proper way to communicate with somebody," Shahriar Nafees, another of the six, told the newspaper. "Any board official is yet to give me a call and only a board employee rang me yesterday [Sunday]. I will only think about attending the meeting if the invitation comes in a proper way."
Inside sources suggested the board had privately conceded that the six could not be dissuaded from signing with the ICL and had decided to concentrate its efforts in preventing more joining them. To that end officials met with the remaining contracted players and made clear the consequences of joining the ICL, as well as highlighting the benefits of remaining in the fold.
"I think it's a personal choice," Shakib Al Hasan said. "But I am very much clear in my position. I want to play for my country and I believe everything will come in my way if I keep my position on the national side."
For a time there were also rumours that the six - Bashar, Ghosh, Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Farhad Reza and Mosharraf Hossain - could be joined by Tamim Iqbal after it emerged that he had not attended the meeting. However, BCB officials were quick to point out that he was on an agreed break. There were also suggestions that Nazimuddin was also about to sign for the ICL and these grew after board officials admitted that he was "a suspect".
It is believed the BCB has been in contact with the ICC to discuss the legal ramifications of the breakaway, although nothing can be done until the rumours turn out to be fact.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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