July 9, 2014

Beware Shakib

If your children don't go to sleep, he will get them

Shakib Al Hasan has taken the unprecedented step of subverting the umpires by signalling sixes himself © AFP

The crash of 2008 was the biggest bank-related catastrophe this planet has faced since the last one. The aftershocks of this man-made disaster are still being felt (although not by the men who made it.) The global economy is more sluggish than an elderly slug just after a heavy lunch and it may be years before we are able to refer to the profession of banking without attaching a ripe expletive.

So it is heartening to report that one sector of the global economy is doing well. The Bangladeshi Hyperbole industry is flourishing, thanks to the efforts of men like BCB President Nazmul Hassan who has this week shown himself to be a master of the hyperbolic arts.

We all know what happens when cricketers are naughty. There's a spot of post-match detention, a splutter of tabloid outrage, a bland statement from the board reminding players not to make fun of the umpire's moustache/smuggle endangered tree frogs onto the field of play/declare war during the lunch interval. The guilty man issues a mea culpa on Twitter and we all get on with our lives.

But the BCB doesn't roll that way. When Shakib Al Hasan misbehaved recently, President Hassan took the opportunity to pump some hot air into the hyperbole market.

"He has a severe attitude problem, which is unprecedented in the history of Bangladeshi cricket."

I don't have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of the attitude problem in Bangladeshi cricket, but in my experience, attitude problems are ten a penny, particularly where competitive sport is concerned. But no, according to Mr Hassan, if you could line up all the attitude problems in the history of Bangladeshi cricket, then Shakib's would stand out like Andrew Strauss at a tact-and-diplomacy awareness session.

"Some of the allegations were so inhuman we were in awe as to how a player can commit these crimes."

Blimey. We must be talking some pretty high-grade naughtiness. So what did he do? And why is such a monster allowed to roam the streets? He could be sitting behind you on the bus right now. He could be hiding under your bed or waiting in the lift. All over Bangladesh, little children are being told that if they don't go to sleep, Shakib will get them. I shudder to ask, Mr President, but can we see the charge sheet?

1. Allegedly not attending a training camp
2. Allegedly failing to obtain the correct piece of paperwork to play in the Caribbean
3. Allegedly leaving the dressing room to allegedly have an alleged altercation with a man who had allegedly harassed his wife.

Oh. Put down the pitchforks and torches, climb off your high horses and stand down the moral police, there's nothing to see here. It's just the usual heart-warming tale of modern cricket: high-profile cricketer in contract squabbles with board.

But Mr Hassan is convinced there's more to it.

"If this continues, our future will be destroyed."

There you have it. Shakib's crimes are so dangerous they will bring about the destruction of the fabric of time itself. Perhaps President Hassan ought to tone it down a little. He has set the outrage bar so high there's nowhere left to go. I fear if he were to come across a real scandal (such as, for example, an outbreak of match-fixing in Bangladesh's premier T20 competition) his head might just explode.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here