Cricketers protest Dhaka Premier League delay
More than 50 Bangladeshi professional cricketers, including several international players, protested the delay in holding the Dhaka Premier League, the country's most popular domestic competition. They gathered at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Saturday after not having played any domestic cricket since mid-February.
The 12-team one-day competition that is central to the protest is also the biggest source of income for the top cricketers, but the Dhaka clubs have refused to participate without the national players who are currently touring Zimbabwe.
The tournament, topmost in Dhaka's league structure, was supposed to be held in March but the Bangladesh players were touring Sri Lanka. It could be held in May, but the clubs have suggested August and September. It will be in the middle of the monsoon season, and it has led to speculation that many of the top clubs are trying to push it past a point where the next BCB elections will have votes from club councillors from the previous season.
The BCB election is held with votes from councillors representing Dhaka clubs, among many other bodies from across the country, from the latest season. The other leagues and tournaments have been held in the 2012-13 season, but the Dhaka Premier League clubs are the most influential in Bangladesh cricket.
Jalal Yunus, the chairman of CCDM, the league's organising committee, has conceded that the domestic calendar should have given priority to the Dhaka Premier League ahead of the Bangladesh Premier League, the franchise-based Twenty20 competition, and added that all parties have to come to an agreement for the tournament to kick off.
"After the National Cricket League, the Dhaka Premier League is the most important tournament," said Jalal. "We cannot ignore it. We probably made some mistakes in the calendar. I think it should have more precedence than the BPL, during which we cannot hold any other tournaments.
"We cannot function without the BCB, CCDM, the clubs and the players. At the same time, you cannot force it on to the clubs or the players. We want the tournament to run smoothly, so as a result, we have to come into a middle ground."
BCB president Nazmul Hassan met with the players' representatives and assured that a solution will be given within the next two weeks.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here