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September 18, 2008
Habibul Bashar, the former Bangladesh captain and one of 13 'rebel' players slapped with a ten-year ban for joining the Indian Cricket League (ICL), has reacted to his country's board's decision with shock.
"It is really unexpected. The ten-year suspension is too harsh. I can't believe it," he told the Dhaka-based Daily Star. "Hopefully we [the 'rebels'] will meet tomorrow to decide our next course of action. We may try to meet with the board officials to explain everything."
Bashar and three of his Dhaka Warriors team-mates, Shahriar Nafees, Alok Kapali and Dhiman Ghosh, returned to Bangladesh after attending the official launch of the ICL's latest team in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Bashar, Bangladesh's most successful captain and highest run-scorer in Test cricket, worried about the misinterpretations associated with the decision to ban the 13 players. "I think the people in this country will not misunderstand us because we didn't commit any crime, rather we just want to play cricket," he said. "It would be an unbearable pain for me to be cast as a banned cricketer after playing for my country for so many years. I don't understand why people call us rebel cricketers. There were reasons for me to take such a decision. I didn't consider only money because I know how big it is to represent the national team."
Raqibul Hasan, who captained Bangladesh during the ICC Trophy in 1979 and 1982, felt it was best to look to the future. "What has happened, has happened. We have to have a complete action to prevent someone to take part in this kind of tournament," he said. "You can't stop someone to go if he has been offered huge money. There is now ICL and you never know another big-spending tournament might take place anywhere in the world. So we have to look at our whole system."
Aminul Islam, another ex-captain, felt there was no difference between a ten-year and a life ban. "The BCB has the right to take such a decision against their employees. But still I am optimistic that they [the players] can understand their mistakes and beg mercy to the board. And definitely the board will consider their appeal."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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