Bangladesh v England, 1st Test, Chittagong March 11, 2010

Siddons sympathises with Raqibul, but Shakib fumes


Bangladesh's coach, Jamie Siddons, believes that Raqibul Hasan will soon come to regret his "rash and emotional" decision to retire from international cricket on the eve of the first Test against England in Chittagong, but hopes that the Bangladesh Cricket Board will take pity on the 22-year-old batsman whom he described as "upset" and "confused".

The coach's conciliatory stance is, however, at odds with that of the captain Shakib Al Hasan, who believes that the board's failure to take action against the fast bowler, Mashrafe Mortaza, who pulled out of the recent one-day series after another row over selection, has set a dangerous precedent for ill-discipline within his squad.

Mortaza played in the first ODI in Mirpur on February 28, his first international appearance since damaging his knee on the tour of West Indies in July. However, following a lacklustre performance in a six-wicket defeat, he was dropped to make way for Rubel Hossain, and promptly walked out on the team, although the BCB covered up the row by claiming he was visiting his sick mother. In August 2008, the opening batsman, Shahriar Nafees, also withdrew from a squad at the last minute, this time on a one-day tour of Australia, as he preferred to concentrate on his studies.

"If the board had taken an action against that one [Mashrafe], it would have been very good," said Shakib. "That was a big mistake on the part of the board because these are all disciplinary issues. It would have been good if we had sorted out this kind of problem earlier. In the past Shahriar Nafees did the same thing, he withdrew himself after the team was announced. This kind of thing really affects us. I don't know what the board will decide, it is totally up to them, but it will be good if they come down tough."

Despite cementing his place in the Test squad with a century and a fifty for Bangladesh A in the three-day warm-up against England in Chittagong earlier this week, Raqibul informed his team-mates of his decision on the team bus after practice on Wednesday, having sent a letter announcing his retirement to the Bangladesh board that morning.

According to Jalal Yunus, the board director, his resignation has not yet been accepted, although it is understood that Raqibul is angry at his omission from Bangladesh's one-day plans. He was left out of the recent tour of New Zealand and the home ODI series against England that concluded last week, and perhaps more significantly the 30-man preliminary squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean next month, a tournament regarded as a shop window for the riches on offer in the shortest and most lucrative form of the game.

"He's made a rash, emotional decision, and I think a really bad one for himself and his family," said Siddons. "He's obviously an upset kid at the moment, and probably a bit confused, and he may need some counselling from people around him. But he'll work on that and think about that, because he's a strong-willed kid and very internal, and hopefully the people in power will want him back.

"He was out of form before this game, so it was a bit of a shock he made the hundred and the fifty after the way he's been playing. But he's one of the guys I've been working on and supportive of for two years, so it's a setback, especially for the World Cup. I need to let him talk to his father and his family, and make sure the board welcome him back when he wants to come back, which I'm sure will happen in the next six to 12 months."

Shakib, however, might not be so keen to forgive and forget, after having such a frustrating distraction thrust upon him ahead of a high-profile Test series. "It is difficult to say how much it will affect us," he said. "We tried to make him understand, but he just told us that his mind is not with the game, and that he won't play, and that's totally up to him. But we don't want it to affect our cricket, so we are just focusing on tomorrow's game and trying to do our best to forget everything else, and get on with it, and play to the best of our ability.

"It's very disappointing because he's been too emotional and you can't play cricket with that much emotion," Shakib added. "You can get axed in any series - and it is not that he did not deserve to be axed - but it would have been better for him if he had continued. Nobody is Superman, but you need to have enough maturity to understand that you're going to pass through good and bad times in your career. This kind of period comes in every cricketer's life. It's better if you use your head than your heart in this period."

"This sort of thing happens to everybody, it's not only for him," the Bangladesh selector, Akram Khan, told Cricinfo. "The most important thing is he has to perform. He didn't get a chance in New Zealand, and he wasn't in the one-day squad for this series, but he was in the Test squad. A lot of good players don't get a chance every time. The England captain [Alastair Cook] is also not in the squad for Twenty20 cricket, but he's still a very good player. I can't understand why he's done this."

The root of Raqibul's anger may well lie in an apparent disagreement between the board and the selectors over his recall for the England Test series. Cricinfo understands that the recommendation from above had been that Raqibul should be dropped along with Mohammad Ashraful, whose form has deserted him in recent months, and Siddons hinted that politics had played its part. "I think there's probably a little bit of truth to all of that," he said. "But if Raqibul's got a grievance, it must be with the selectors because they are the ones who left him out.

"He didn't like being dropped in the way he was dropped, then he missed out on the 30 for the Twenty20 squad, which was probably a bad selection, and he's really disappointed," Siddons added. "He thought he'd proved his point that he was good enough to be in that 30, which I think he is, but then he walked away. I don't know who he was trying to hurt, or what point he was trying to prove, but I hope the BCB welcome him back because he's a kid who's a bit confused."

In Raqibul's absence, Aftab Ahmed slots into the middle order, with Mahmudullah promoted three places from No. 8 following an impressive tour of New Zealand. Either way, there has been no recall for Ashraful, despite Siddons stating that he would have been his preferred replacement in the squad.

"Ash was the name I pushed forward, but I'm only one person and I don't have a say in selection, apart from my debating ability," he said. "I thought to have him around the group would be good, but he wouldn't have come into the side. Aftab was straight in. He's a seasoned campaigner and he's learning about international cricket the way I want it to be played. Hopefully he's the one who stands up for us. One goes out, and another gets the opportunity."

Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Aftab Ahmed, 5 Mahmudullah, 6 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 7 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 8 Naeem Islam, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Shadahat Hossain

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mahmudul on March 14, 2010, 5:06 GMT

    I think Rokibul has made a right decision. If he plays 100 more matches in favor of Bangladesh, He will never be able to impact a small for any win, so he should quit. if we see his average, Strike Rate and the capability of playing strokes, he should not be selected any more. If the player is Ashraful, he may do something for Bangladesh's win, once he can score and that day there may be a possibility of win so we should bring him back by solving his problem. Player like Rakibul only can occupy crease for few overs and come back without scoring essential runs but losses valuable balls, he will never be a match winning. We need to see wins now. Still Bangladesh can not chase runs over 300, so need players having good strike rate.

  • Itrat on March 12, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    Maruf Rahman is absolutly right. But people couldnn't understand the actual thing. We have no Bret Lee, No Ponting But we had a good team spirit which has been destroyed by some faomuos. I have no dout about mash capabilities but he should follow the rules and regulation of the team. Again i will say he is crazy only about IPL AND NOT PRIORITY THE TEAM SPIRIT. But some thing wrong with the Rakib. COME ON BANGLADESH GO AHEAD

  • Mustafizur Rahman on March 12, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    I referred to the Symonds case as an example of how disciplinary issues should be approached- with strictness. I was not comparing Mashrafee to Symonds- the two cases are different in nature. Symonds engaged in self-destructive behaviour which affected himself as much as the team. Mashrafee, on the other hand, engaged in a course of conduct that, following what Raqibul has done, has clearly had an infectious effect. I am not suggesting that there actually should be a ban straight away- but at the very least, the Board should crack its whip and seek accountability. As far as team selection goes, sure there are questions, and there shall always be. Why is Junaid getting such an extended run? Should not players such as Jahurul, Farhad, Faisal and Shuvagata, who have had good domestic seasons, be given chances? Should not Sagir be given an opportunity with the gloves, and Mushfiq be played only as a batsman, as he keeps costing us at least two wickets per innings while we are bowling?

  • Alex on March 11, 2010, 19:15 GMT

    Sakib Hussain going south. His batting going south , his bowling going south.

    Sakib is more interested in politics and power for himself than playing well against england.

    Oh well Bangladesh Team is below ordinary.

  • Dummy4 on March 11, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    Whats going on? Dont knw. Pak-Ban same problm

  • bandor on March 11, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    Someone said mashrafee should have been handled the way symonds was handled. Cannot be more junkie comparison than that. Symonds had multiple serious serious disciplinary breaches and his replacements were knocking at the door for some time. Another one commented that the team is Shakib's (HIS) team. Rubbish once again. The team is Bangladesh's team, brother. Shakib is number one all-rounder in ODI for time being for some quirky rating system of ICC. But let's not be flying and let's put our feet to the ground. There are far better all-rounder in Kallis, Yousuf pathan, Angela Mathews etc. I believe Shakib should be really demoted from captaincy if his attitude toward senior players continues.

  • Dre on March 11, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    One of the problems facing Bang cricket is immaturity of the players. Shakib is a diamond in the rough, what he said is characteristic of a firm captain. Bang clearly has talent and thus don't need any soft, gentle, coaxing treatment. It's not entirely up to players to better their Club structure but they can influence the final XI and Shakib seems to be the right man for that. I would like to see him grow even tougher and more critical as well and push for increased maturity in his team. Statements like the 1 Chris Gayle made the other day when he basically said crap is crap and no excuses are what developing teams need. I hope the BCB and the other players get behind Sahkib and I also hope Aftab Ahmed plays well and takes the chance that has been given to him. I also very much support leaving Ashraful out of the team he is clearly out of form.

  • Md. Rakibuzzaman on March 11, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    I think Shakib is right...If u want to develop a wining team u have to be professional about selection...Players should also react with professional attitude...Coz they r not a kid....they represent the country. The selectors and the board should deal this sort of behavior with great care. Otherwise this will kill the harmony of the team .....Above all, all have to accept , if you are not performing you have to step aside to give opportunity to others.

  • Tawsif on March 11, 2010, 17:43 GMT

    Shakib looks tired of trying convince Raqibul. If we consider Shakib's side, his captaincy too has not been a walk in the park. First the board president who also bosses his domestic club, gave birth of a hasty commotion; then one of the seniors in the squad made an erratic quit; and now another player does the same with an extended impetuousness.

    So if Shakib thinks that the culture of rebellion that illustriously started prior to the ICL, has not been dealt properly by the board and that is why the same unwanted things are taking place, we cannot say he is wrong.

  • Dummy4 on March 11, 2010, 17:38 GMT

    Now, looking back to Mashrafee. He is one of my favorite cricketer too. But, in order to be in a team, you gotta perform. Now you may ask, does Rubel is performing better then Mashrafee? No he's not. But Rubel has better prospect then Mashrafee. Rubel does not fall for injury frequently, Rubel got pace, and with a better bowling coach, just imagine, 145 KM/h in-swing yorker! What exactly we got from Mashrafee? Any match winning performance, or close to match winning performance. Here do not bring some example against Kenya/Scotland/Ireland, we are not that little enough to bring those kind of example. In World Cup against India, we won, because of Tamim and Mushfiq. In T20 World cup against West Indies, we won because of Ashraful. Our first test win against Zimbabwe, because of Enamul Hq Jr. Our recent tour in West Indies, Masharfee was not even in the team! So, why we are so Mashrafe addict? Was he ever in the ranking on top8 bowler? He played for KKR, and conceded 40+ runs in 3 overs

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