BCB to give contracts to 120 players
In the first major step to decentralise the game in the country, the Bangladesh Cricket Board has decided to give contracts to 120 cricketers from January next year. The proposal is to give one-year contracts to 15 players from each of the eight designated regions - Barisal, Khulna, Rajshahi, Chittagong, Sylhet, Rangpur, Dhaka and Dhaka Metropolis - to decentralise the game from its present Dhaka-centric state.
BCB president Mustafa Kamal made the radical announcement after an emergency board meeting. "We have decided to bring 120 cricketers under our umbrella by giving them contracts, which will include the national team players," Kamal said. "The aim is for grassroots development so there will be 15 cricketers from each of the eight regions. It will be effective from January next year, and we will also cover their insurance premium."
Kamal also informed that the board will spend Bangladeshi taka 35 million (US $ 430,000 approx.) annually on the contracts. The payment scale will depend on experience (one-four, five-seven and seven-plus years) while the selection will be based completely on performance.
Though Kamal didn't confirm any connection between this decision and the proposed franchise-based four-day competition from next season, it is apparent that these 120 cricketers will form the core of the first-class players in the tournament.
The board will also appoint eight former cricketers, preferably those who have played for Bangladesh, as cricket operations managers. "They will be salaried by the BCB but under one condition, they have to be former players from the region," Kamal said. "For example, someone from Rajshahi will be the operations manager for that region, not that of Sylhet, so that he can coordinate with everyone in that region."
Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka