Bangladesh domestic news June 17, 2013

Top cricketers threaten to pull out of Dhaka league

Top cricketers in Bangladesh have threatened to "stay away" from this season's Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League after the BCB proposed a change in the players' transfer system. The Dhaka Premier League is a city-based domestic one-day competition and is the country's most popular league.

Cricketers' Welfare Association of Bangladesh, the players' body, announced the decision after a long discussion with the players on Monday afternoon. They complained about the lack of communication from the BCB, which announced on Sunday that the new system of player transfer - similar to the draft system that is used in American sports - will take place on June 23. The league is slated to begin on July 3.

Former Bangladesh player Rajin Saleh read out CWAB's letter, but Debabbrata Paul, the secretary, said that there was never any official discussion between the two sides, which was one of the reasons for their plan to stay away.

"We gave our observations to the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM) in a letter, but they never replied," Paul said. "We got to know of it from the media that they will start a gradation and rotation policy. So today we took a decision after speaking to the players that we will stay away from the competition.

"The BCB never sat with us, so we don't really know where our differences are. There was no official discussion with them. I had a personal talk with Jalal Yunus, the CCDM chairman."

The main reason for the row is the new players' transfer system, which replaces the traditional way in which the players negotiated a fee for one season with a Dhaka-based club to play in the tournament.

Instead, the players were divided into categories according to a pay structure that started from Tk 22 lakh ($28,300 approximately) for the A+ group of players. A lottery would decide which club gets to pick first from the top category, and after all 12 clubs picked players from that particular category, the next pick would go to the club who selected last in the first category. From there it would proceed sequentially in the next categories.

According to CWAB, clubs picking players was against the spirit of the competition and also curbed the players' freedom to choose which club to play for.

"The new system was forgoing the traditional way of players' transfers and replacing it with a new system of grading and rotation," CWAB's statement said. "There was not only financial loss for the players, but professional freedom was hampered."

The BCB didn't take any immediate action, merely saying that they want an official letter from CWAB. It is also not clear what action the BCB are likely to take against their contracted cricketers, including Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, who have effectively opposed the board's decision.

Acting CEO Nizamuddin Ahmed said that they still haven't received any word from the CWAB regarding their latest action. "We haven't received the players' decision formally. We will discuss the situation once we receive it.

"Otherwise we have pitched a tentative date for the Premier League to start, which is on July 3. We have spoken to players and the players association informally."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here