ICC revamp January 25, 2014

Mushfiqur blasts proposed two-tier Test system


Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim has opened up about his and the team's disappointment at the proposed two-tier system in Test cricket. He has become the first international cricketer to voice his opinion about the 'position paper' which is put forward by a working group of the Finance & Commercial Affairs committee of the ICC.

Bangladesh's main concern is their future in Test cricket. One of the proposals is to make the teams ranked Nos. 9 and 10 play in the Intercontinental Cup (the ICC's first-class tournament for non-Test nations) from 2015. That will leave very little room for Bangladesh to play any more Test matches against the top eight countries, particularly if the FTP is done away with and series are decided on a bilateral basis. Currently Bangladesh are No. 10 in the ICC Test rankings.

Mushfiqur was left frustrated by yet another off-field issue bothering the Bangladesh cricket team. The build-up to the Test series against Sri Lanka, starting in less than two days, has already become something of a sideshow with so much talk about the draft proposals. He thinks that players must have a say in such big decisions, mainly because it is they who do the job out in the middle.

"If the two-tier system does happen, then what is the use of all this?" Mushfiqur said. "We work very hard to play cricket, so it will be very disappointing if it does indeed happen. This is a big issue, so it is quite obvious that I will feel bad. It is not in our hands. In the last two or three series, we are facing one problem after another."

"Whatever decision is taken, we have to play in the field. We have to face the consequences of every decision."

Mushfiqur said the Bangladesh players have been talking about the planned new system, which has the potential to put their cricket careers in doubt. But he doesn't believe his side has anything else to prove. He also doesn't think the cloud over their Test future is working as an extra motivation at this stage.

"We have been discussing the matter, and everyone has a similar sentiment. What if this is what happens in the end? But I don't think it is working as a motivation. It is not in our hands, so there is not much to be motivated about from this. We have played some consistent cricket in the last two years. We just have to continue on that.

"We have nothing to show to anyone. I think we can fight them with the team we have and the consistency we have shown. I hope everything gets better, and I hope such a thing doesn't happen and we get to play."

He feels the time has come for him to talk to players from other countries, to probably find a solution to the dilemma, while at the same time maintain communication with BCB officials so that the right decision is taken.

"We haven't talked to players from any other country. But maybe we have to do so quite soon. We haven't had the chance to speak to them [officials] too. We have spoken informally but nothing official as of now. I hope whoever is in charge of this decision, do so in the best interest of the country."

Meanwhile, the BCB has said it will oppose the two-tier system, and that the decision was taken unanimously by the directors.

"The draft proposal had a lot of components, one of which was Bangladesh not playing Test cricket from 2015," BCB's spokesperson Jalal Yunus said. "All 23 were opposed to going down to the second tier. The BCB are against Bangladesh playing in the second tier."

The statement on Saturday came after growing criticism at home, led by former BCB president Saber Chowdhury who wrote an open letter to the incumbent chief, blasting him and the board directors for aligning with the draft proposal.

"The voting was not on the resolution of the board. It was on a strategic issue, on which we sought opinions of all the directors," Jalal said. "In terms of the financial issues, we want to discuss with other member countries, after which we will take a decision."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nabeel on January 28, 2014, 4:42 GMT

    BD team as well as the whole nation has passion for CRICKET that is comparable to any other cricket loving nation.

    Yes, their team is weaker than other test palying nations. In the current lot of BD players, they are passionate and have the will to improve and with the addition of 2-3 good palyers this BD team will be among the world best. Sri Lanka has gone through the same situation. You are right Mushfiq!!!!!!

  • jai on January 27, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    first bangladesh playes need to stop the T20 league and play the test match within the country and get better. once they stop the freefall of wickets on the field and learn to make 400+ every innings they will need to start playing the #6,7 and 8 and do the same. once this is accomplished they can demand more cricket from the higher ranked teams. look what srilanka did the other night. we have seen this too many times before.

  • saan on January 27, 2014, 13:10 GMT

    Bangladesh has been given enough chances to play good cricket. They never did. Everytime there is a series with them we know what the outcome of the series will be. So he has no point in mourning about it. He says players should have a say in these decisions as they are the once who play "hard" cricket on the field. The decision to bring in the two tier system is because some teams are not playing "hard" enough and those series involving these teams are rather boring to watch in a spectator point of view... May be he and his team should start playing "good" cricket and earn the spot to play within the elite teams...I support two tier system as it also gives chance to other nations who actually play good cricket and deserve a spot at test level.

  • Janaka on January 27, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    The cricket I watched in my childhood was never a trade. It became an industry just at the start of these premier leagues. Our heroes by then, played because they had a passion about it. Some used to work part time, some used to work full time, and played in the evenings. I don't think professionals gave anything special than those heroes. In Sri Lanka, cricket became popular before the world cup was won, and it was not because of money. Still we had so many legendary batsmen like Aravinda, Sanath. Please save cricket! Show that you care for it ICC.

  • Janaka on January 27, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    Wow! Mushfiqur is the man! Proud of you! It's surprising that why people shut their mouths! Whatever the internal politics, however the chair's position in the biggest cricket playing nation in all sorts of trouble, and how hard they try to gain internal votes, why on earth international people keep their mouth shut? Hope this is just the beginning. I'm disappointed the way our boards behave!

  • Khaum on January 27, 2014, 10:30 GMT

    i m amazed & u can say happy to see that how emotional BD fans are about their cricket. But I just fail to understand why they blame everything on India & starting abusing Pakistan for no apparent reason.

    BDishi team is improving which is heartening to see but why BD Fans have to make certain irrelevant assumptions that they belong to top flight cricket ? e.g.

    BD beat NZ , NZ beat India , hence proven BD is better than India.

    this sounds weird..

    BD is certainly improving in ODI and they should be in it forever and given even more opportunities. And ODI will bring more money to BD. But Test is another animal all together. It should be kept among top 8 with more focus. Also add context to every single test. Test championship was great idea and should be kept alive

  • udendra on January 27, 2014, 10:29 GMT

    Kudos to Mushfiqur! This little fellow had the guts to say so, where many top profile players have kept mum.

  • Maudassar on January 27, 2014, 6:26 GMT

    i think BCB should not pick & drop from the propsal, just accept or reject the big three proposal, which i think not good for cricket.

  • Farooq on January 27, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    The only good thing in future proposals seems to be the "two-tier" system. It will provide level playing field and more even competition around besides giving chance for elevation to upper division on performance. It will also make Test world cup possible. How it can hurt cricket in general? beats me.

  • Tapa on January 27, 2014, 2:15 GMT

    QUESTIONs must need to arise. Did Bangladesh have fair chances to play enough test crickets since they got test status (Especially against so called big teams)? Does Bangladesh have enough money to play test cricket? Does Bangladesh bring financial profit to related cricketing bureau? Will cricket be any better for Bangladesh in near future if they do not get chance to play test matches against big teams? Is not a double standard for ICC by keeping test cricket within so called big teams and providing a huge financial support to Indian cricket (Also see article on Mani's protest)????...

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