Indian Cricket League

Bashar leads Bangladesh exodus

Nagraj Gollapudi in New Delhi

September 16, 2008

Comments: 31 | Text size: A | A


Dhaka Warriors: Alok Kapali, Shahriar Nafees, Dhiman Ghosh and Habibul Bashar © AFP
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The exodus of 13 players from Bangladesh to the Indian Cricket League - and into virtual exile from all official cricket - has been formalised with the unveiling in New Delhi of the Dhaka Warriors. The team, which will compete in the second season of (ICL) from October 10, will be led by Habibul Bashar, the former national captain, and includes recent internationals Aftab Ahmed, Alok Kapali, Shahriar Nafees, Farhad Reza, Dhiman Ghosh and Mosharraf Hossain.

The ICL's latest signings, who will be coached by Balwinder Sandhu, the former India player, include four players who have represented Bangladesh in the past - retired left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique, Tapash Baisya, Manjural Islam and Mohammad Sharif. The others are Golam Mabud, a reserve wicketkeeper after Ghosh, and Mahbubul Karim, part of the Bangladesh Academy team currently touring Sri Lanka.

The move is likely to have a significant impact on Bangladesh cricket, and the recruits have drawn the anger of their fans, some of whom have even labelled them 'traitors'. Bashar reiterated the ICL stance - players contracted are free to turn out for their country . "ICL never asked us to stop playing for our country," he said as the ICL launched their second season. "That is the main reason we joined the ICL. Perhaps people back home haven't understood properly."

Bashar was the first to be introduced as one by one each 'warrior' came on to the stage, dressed in green tee-shirts and dark slacks, with a sword in hand and a smile on the face. While a personal statement for each, it was also a show of strength for the league, which has faced many a hurdle since its inception. Kapil Dev, India's World Cup-winning captain and now chairman of the ICL's executive board, said he wanted to see these players represent Bangladesh, and be part of the league when away from national duty.

"They have come here to make their life," he said. "How can you stop anybody not to play cricket? How can you stop people from not getting educated as cricket was education for me. If somebody says you only play with one set of people then that is wrong. We are not in apartheid era."

Top Curve
ICC acting in a 'tardy manner'
  • "We had first applied for recognition in April. But till now nothing concrete has come out," Himanshu Mody, the ICL's business head, said. "I feel the ICC is trying to delay the matter. They had last sent a letter asking why did we start the league.
  • "They are acting in a tardy manner. We had recently sent a reply and if we don't hear anything in 14 days we will pursue the matter again."
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Nafees, who at one point was seen as a potential successor to Bashar as Bangladesh captain, said he had the freedom to make his choice. "The player has all the right to choose what he has to do," he said. "I still believe I can play for my country. ICL is a new and unique concept to promote players, to train young guys and make them better cricketers. So I would like to take this opportunity and show what I can do."

He downplayed the monetary significance of joining the league. "As a cricketer my first and love is to play cricket," he said. "When I was growing up money was always secondary. I've sacrificed ten years of my life to play at the highest level."

The departure of Nafees, Aftab and Kapali will severely dent Bangladesh's batting, while Dhiman Ghosh was their first-choice wicketkeeper during the ODI series in Australia. Farhad Reza had played 32 one-dayers since his debut in July 2006 and left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain featured in the home ODIs against South Africa earlier in the year.

The ICL have also signed two of Bangladesh's most experienced players in Bashar and Rafique. Bashar is Bangladesh's most-capped Test player with 50 matches. He led the team in 18 of those, including the country's only Test win over Zimbabwe in 2005 and in the 2007 World Cup, where they scored upset wins over India and South Africa. For long the mainstay of Bangladesh's batting, Bashar had fallen out of favour in the past year, and was disappointed with the lack of support he got, especially from current coach Jamie Siddons.

Rafique, Bangladesh's leading wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs, had announced his retirement ahead of the South Africa's visit, but later said he had done it as a "mark of protest". He said in an interview: "It's better to leave before getting humiliated at the hands of some people who prevented me from playing Test cricket for two years."

The Dhaka Warriors will be the ICL's second city-based team to feature players from a single country, after the Lahore Badshahs, consisting of only Pakistan players, performed splendidly on the field and more importantly gained a following among viewers, especially in Pakistan. The two teams will play alongside seven other sides in the ICL 20s Championship. The tournament will be held across four venues - Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Gurgaon and Panchkula - and will be followed by the ICL World Series, during which the players from the Lahore Badshahs and Dhaka Warriors will take part as the Pakistan and Bangladesh XIs respectively.

Dhaka Warriors: Habibul Bashar (capt), Aftab Ahmed, Shahriar Nafees, Alok Kapali, Dhiman Ghosh (wk), Farhad Reza, Manjural Islam, Golam Mabud (wk), Mahbubul Karim, Mohammad Rafique, Mohammad Sharif, Mosharraf Hossain, Tapash Baisya .

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by LemonFromMadaripur on (September 18, 2008, 8:07 GMT)

Dear Bangalore Kid, If all TV channels create their own T20 league cricketers will be benefited, and few channels will make profit, all TV channels will not. Among all the TV channels' T20 league, people will choose the best league, like they usually see the most popular channels. Always you have to earn by competition, like survival for the fittest. No infrastructure is made solely by BCCI, but they want to grab all the benefits without any competition which is absolutely ridiculous in this super competitive free economy world. I am sure and hopeful BCCI and ICC will be compelled to do negotiations with this type of leagues otherwise it will be total madness this type of unhealthy situations will be happened again and again. Hope I made you understand.

Posted by Fahim.Jughead on (September 18, 2008, 2:31 GMT)

Nice job! I hope they play better in the ICL than they played for BD team. People who are calling them traitors are a bunch of clowns and are just jealous. :). Like everyone else in BD is doing so much for their country!!

Posted by SHUBHAKAR on (September 18, 2008, 1:53 GMT)

No doubt BCCI is the richest cricket board but it is not going in right direction because of some of the board members. ICL is not for money, the thought behind ICL is to promote cricket and make cricket as a profession for cricketers. The same thought had been done by Kerry Packer four decades earlier, at that time Packer was treated as a rebellion but now world cricket is going on his way. Mr Subhas Chopra is also a media tycoon and he is capable of starting a parallel world cricket body which will disturb the cricket bodies. It is my opinion that ICC will come forward and resolve the dispute between BCCI and ICL, otherwise ICC will be main loser. In world cricket only BCCI is capable to pay handsome amount to their cricketers. Other cricket boards are not so rich. If a player of any country got handsome money definitely he will change his loyalty. If a player is not getting handsome amount to run his family needs, what will he do?

Posted by TwitterJitter on (September 17, 2008, 19:08 GMT)

To all people advocating for ICC to recongnize ICL, would you also then advocate for each TV channel owner to have his own cricket league comprised of some arbitrarily formed teams representing each country? If Zee can form their own league and get recognized by ICC, why not ESPN, Star Sports, Sony, or NEO sports? Why not cricinfo have their own cricket league with 12 teams whom they claim represents 12 countries and have about 15 world cups each year for each of these leagues - all in T20 format? They don't have to build their own players. They can just poach players developed by other boards and make profits off of them. Are you guys okay with 12 T20 world cups each year? Think it through. Just because you are mad at BCCI for some reason does not justify your reasoning that ICC should approve ICL. It is a free country. Zee can form its own league. It does not mean that ICC has to recongnize it. If it does, you will many more channels starting their own leagues and playing world cups.

Posted by Ambuj_l on (September 17, 2008, 16:12 GMT)

Why should World Cricket suffer for BCCI's arrogance ?

Its pretty shameful that ICC is not taking a stance and recognizing ICL. How much more should other boards suffer for BCCI..

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (September 17, 2008, 8:51 GMT)

Guys, think about it. ICL in a way has brought in the 'need' factor to BCB. Now they are forced to deploy proper infrastructure and care to attract talent better than ICL would attempt. This will only benefit Bangladesh. Until now BCB had nothing to fear and nothing to deliver.

Posted by LemonFromMadaripur on (September 17, 2008, 7:55 GMT)

Well done Bashar and Company, I am not angry with Bangladeshi players or the Bangladesh Cricket Board, rather I am angry with ICC and specially BCCI controlling people. For these two cricket body Bangladeshi players and Bangladesh Cricket Board have fallen in a bad situation. ICC and BCCI should pay for all these happenings. Cricket is game, and all the players have the right to play it for his country and also for other local/international teams according to his will. I think Human Rights Organisation like Amnesty International should sue against BCCI and ICC for all these previous happenings.

Posted by deensheikh on (September 17, 2008, 7:51 GMT)

Well I would not personally blame the Bangladeshi cricketers for choosing the ICL after being sidelined by their cricket board in such a manner. The same way I dont blame Pakistani Cricketers such as Imran Nazir, Muhammad Sami etc for choosing the ICL as their Career with the national side was made uncertain through regular exclusion from side and a central contract. I personally agree, that it is about time the ICC takes the initiative and takes the matter up with full practicality with the BCCI. Due to BCCI's stubborn attitude towards the ICL and ICL Associated Cricketers, they have destroyed the careers of many cricketers and have deprived them of their livelihood as well, by forcibly getting other boards to not permit those cricketers to even play for domestic cricket. Because of the BCCI, they are being deprived of their bread and butter. I think the real problem is,ICL was a good idea and the BCCI are just pissed off because they couldnt come up with such a great idea.

Posted by Shahnewaz on (September 17, 2008, 7:51 GMT)

I have one request. Please cut Dhaka from "Dhaka Warriors". Because they are not Bangladeshi from now.

Posted by omario on (September 17, 2008, 5:10 GMT)

I think the Bangladeshi players have done the right thing and have exercised their freedom of choice by joining the ICL. Everyone should have the freedom to choose their profession, short of illegal, immoral or unethical behavior. The Cricket Board in Bangladesh (BCB) is a despotic and inept entity, hogging the credit when the team does well and blaming the players and disavowing all responsibility when it does not. The selection of the team has often been arbitrary and there seems to be a system of rewarding some players and punishing others, such as Rafiq, Pilot and Bashar, even if and when they are deserving. The blame for the debacle lies entirely with the Board and the officials. They should all be shown the door and a wholesale change with more enlightened, fair and sensitive, considerate replacements should be undertaken immediately.

Posted by AhmedNure on (September 17, 2008, 4:57 GMT)

Well I must mention here that the reason some of the immature players given in support of their resignation is totally childish, among the seven BCB contracted player there are some 1/2 who have something to give back to the country. And for the rest I'm satisfied that I might have not to look at those non-performer faces in the Bangladesh team.

My request to BCB is to take stern action against the rebel players whose intention is to destroy the Bangladesh cricket.

Posted by Aman-bd on (September 17, 2008, 4:31 GMT)

I am really shocked by the attitude showed by them. But to tell you the truth I am not that much worried. I am just feeling bad for Aftab Ahmed. I think he has a lot to contribute for Bangladesh team. So our selectors should try their best to bring back him in the Bangladesh team. The rest have nothing to offer. Habib has no form and he has nothing left to provide. Shahriar Nafees has no good record against any test playing nation and Naimuddin's poor form in the recent matches is so poor too. Alok was good in his early days but now he is finding it difficult.I would be happy If they could play in IPL. But I know they don't deserve a position there because of their lack of form and incapability.Dhiman was good but at the end they all showed how silly they are. They just went after money and they are traitors. In the history of Bangladesh cricket they will be treated as traitor and we will never forgive them.

Posted by omario on (September 17, 2008, 4:27 GMT)

I think the Bangladeshi players have done the right thing and have exercised their freedom of choice in joining the ICL. Everyone should have the freedom to chose their profession, short of illegal, immoral or unethical behavior. The Cricket Board in Bangladesh (BCB) is a despotic and inept entity, hogging the credit when the team does well and blaming the players and disavowing all responsibility when it does not. The selection of the team has often been arbitrary and there seems to be a system of rewarding some players and punishing others, such as Rafiq, Pilot and Bashar, even if they are deserving. The blame for the debacle lies entirely with the Board and the officials. They should all be shown the door and a wholesale change with more enlightened, fair and sensitive, considerate replacements should be undertaken immediately.

Posted by rajithwijepura on (September 17, 2008, 4:05 GMT)

I feel sorry about future of the Bangladesh cricket after exit of 4 good player (Alok Kapali, Shahriar Nafees, Habibul Bashar & Aftab Ahmed). Shahriar Nafees has good average average of 33.76 as opener. And I remember that inning Kapali played against mighty India in Asia Cup (115 from 96 balls). That was the second best inning a saw from bangladesh batsman after match winning bat from Asraful against Australia. Bashar is the experienced player in the Bangladesh team and I know they miss him badly in test format. Aftab a aggressive dashing player who can score 100 from 60 or 70 balls. Bangladesh will miss all of them.

Posted by dvd1986 on (September 17, 2008, 4:04 GMT)

Thank God the ICL wasn't around when Sri Lanka started out. I'm sure that they were mis-treated and underpaid yet they earned the respect of the rest of the world and became the Sri Lanka Cricket Team they are today. The ICC want more full-member countries, yet these events will put immense pressure on them to demote Bangladesh, along with Zimbabwe. The BCCI are too greedy to realise THEY are ruining international cricket. When guys like Bond, Vincent, Hall, Imran Nazir, Mohammad Sami (the list goes on) are told they can't represent their countries is a detriment to the fans, cricket boards and the game of cricket. Bangladesh had potential, now it seems we're going to loose them as a full-member country, what a shame, this is on the BCCI/ICC hands, no one elses.

Posted by Circket-Newsletters on (September 17, 2008, 3:58 GMT)

BCCI should be held responsible for all these happenings. We (SL) are facing similar problems with the board and the players. BCCI should either scrap IPL or welcome ICL.

Posted by G.F.Hamim on (September 17, 2008, 3:02 GMT)

Ok boys, go ahead. We'd love to watch your action in ICL. Also the Board should not be worried much, because we have many boys back home- who are really talented and go-getter. You hunt them now and let the old warriors' to play outside. Be positive.

Posted by CbeCricket on (September 17, 2008, 2:39 GMT)

Well how about Ashraful, he needs to be there with the Dhaka Warriors.The Bangladesh cricket will then survive and go forward with the rest of the talents.

Posted by 180Shauny on (September 17, 2008, 1:06 GMT)

What a joke! This will put Bangladesh cricket even further back all because they insist on persecuting a league which has requested recognition and is yet to receive it. ICL has been around for a while now and we're still yet to see any evidence that it is bad for cricket (other than players being banned for no good reason) - so why not accept them on board and put the whole matter to rest?

Posted by safaat on (September 17, 2008, 0:15 GMT)

Good that these guys left. It has made our job easy. Since ages we have been expecting these guys to start performing consistently to their potential but none of them have been able. Shahriar Nafees averages 17 in ODIs against the top eight teams in the world and that too after having consistently played in the team for the three years. All he did was bash Zimbabwe into further submission. Bashar's time was up at the start of the year when the failed miserably against NZ. He was the most successfull captain and the best batsmen (2000-2006)for Bangladesh. His contribution was immense and in my books if he would have gone alone without taking AFTAB with him he would have had the status of a legend in my books like most of the Bangladeshis. Dhiman well we really dont know when did get that contract first of all. Anyways never really remember any significant contribution from him except while the rest of the players are similar to the other foreign cricketer playing in ICL.

Posted by Gary14 on (September 16, 2008, 23:36 GMT)

What a waste of time trying to get these guys up to speed in Test Cricket. Waste of time for nations and their home spectators having to sit through any boring match involving Balgladesh. All the attempts to try and bring them into Test Cricket and then the bulk of them run off to earn some quick bucks playing mickey mouse cricket.

Shame on you all.

Posted by dadvoc on (September 16, 2008, 23:22 GMT)

I think this will prove to be a major incident and will help in the acceptance of ICL as a 'valid league'

Posted by rajjraman on (September 16, 2008, 21:50 GMT)

What next? A team from UAE called "The Dubai Sheikhs" and then a team from Hongkong "The hongkong Noodles". Total Rubbish.

ICL is nothing but "Indian Charity League". It pays no good players lots of money to promote their league. Happy for the players as they are earning their bread. But besides that the cricket is horrible. All spent cricketers playing.

Its like the veterans cricket being shown in Doordharsan. Pathetic.

If they would have gone to Indian colleges, they would have got more talented cricketers than the Bangladeshis.

Kapil and grey matter doesn't go together and he is taking a corporate house like ZEE also down with him.

Good Bless and good riddance.

Posted by NZ_Cricket_supporter on (September 16, 2008, 21:08 GMT)

Well, thats pretty much the end of Baggladeshi cricket for a long time to come. I hope that we (NZ) now pull out of on our upcoming tour. It wont happen, but it will be a hiding to nothing. No team can lose 60-70% of its players and compete.

Posted by r1m2 on (September 16, 2008, 20:53 GMT)

Actually this is a great decision by these players. Very enterprising, and quite unexpected from Bangladeshis. Also, the way BCCI has treated Bangladesh (the only board yet to offer Bangladesh a tour of India, how pathetic), if this was the way it had to be, for a "Bangladesh" team to play in India, then so be it. Personally I think Dhaka Warriors will be a lot more exciting and enterprising to watch. Best of luck to Bashar's team. @BangaloreKid you are right, ICL did not think to pay spectators to show up like the IPL to fill up the stadia. To me, the fact remains, ICL showed the way, IPL followed in and using the might of BCCI is attempting to wipe out ICL, but since they're just good followers and hardly leaders, they're struggling to even do that.

Posted by samjad on (September 16, 2008, 20:28 GMT)

Players left Bangladesh team won't be missed at all. Starting with Bashar, he was dropped because he was out of form for nearly 2 years. Same goes for Nafees, Aftab, Kapali. None of thease guys were performing good enough to be regular in the team. Dhiman was a wicket keeper came as our no 1 Rahim was injured. They left the team as they saw an oppotunity to make some quick money,before they left on their defence they blamed the BCB. So that their move can be justified.

So pls don't think BD team will collapse or perform any worse because these guys left. We have a lot better players than thease overrated non performers.All I would say, good luck ICL!

Posted by TwitterJitter on (September 16, 2008, 19:58 GMT)

Enough with all the people lecturing us on how ICL is doing charity. There are so many sports in India which needs assistance. But no, they had to pick cricket, and that too a T20 format at that. So please spare us your sympathy on how ICL is doing good for sports in India. They are in it to fill the slot in his TV channel and he picked a T20 format for that. So stop lecturing us on how we should feel good about ICL.

Posted by jonga on (September 16, 2008, 19:57 GMT)

I must say good choice by former captain Habibul Bashar and his team mates, by joining ICL. It's not every time about money, its about the support from the spectators also. And also BCB also should have done something when the players were complaining about thier board. After all they were playing for Bangladesh. I would personally wish all the players Best of Luck for their retirement from the national team, and have a bright future. And also that ICL has done a great job by inviting these players in form of Dhakha Warriors.

Posted by rajryth on (September 16, 2008, 18:47 GMT)

Good work guys. Since the pathetic BCB does not want you, what is stopping u from finding work overseas? It is a great idea to have a second overseas-based city team in the ICL, and I, for one, will be rooting and supporting the Dhaka Warriors, except of course when they face the Kolkata team. Keep up the good work Habibul and team.

Posted by Krisraj on (September 16, 2008, 18:35 GMT)

I dont know why we Indians never appreciate others, we are like frogs who will not go out of a drum itself and pulls others leg who are trying to go out. ICL is providing money to the players and taking care of the grounds by spending so much money on the infrastructure, Even though most of its matches dont have much audiance, Instead of appreciating their effort, People criticize them. They are not hiring any street cricketers they are hiring National team left outs from Bangladesh, If they played even one match for their country it means they have the talent which most of the other country men dont have in them. I really appreciate ICL for their effort.

Posted by TwitterJitter on (September 16, 2008, 16:26 GMT)

Good riddance! You can join ICL and forever remain in obsurity. ICL overpays all the fringe players in the world and tries to make splash to get some publicity. Most of the ICL games are played to empty stadiums. Good luck to the players. Although, the ICC will be glad that players of sub-standard quality are gone so that teams like Australia don't have to play a sorry Bangladesh, I hope you get your loot from ICL. ICC should now have only six test teams and have a test championship.

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