Groundsman allegedly assaulted by former BCB director
A groundsman at the Shahid Kamruzzaman Stadium in Rajshahi has been allegedly assaulted by a senior Rajshahi official. The BCB has condemned the incident, saying it will investigate into the matter and take action.
ESPNcricinfo has learned from multiple sources at the ground that Mahmood Jamal, the Rajshahi divisional sports association's secretary, had asked the groundsman Russell to come to his room at the end of the first day's play of Rajshahi Division's NCL match against Barisal Division, on Saturday. Jamal had then allegedly asked Russel why he had repeatedly sprayed water on the pitch. Russell denied doing so, but Jamal, supposedly irked by Rajshahi's dismal batting performance during the day, got angry at the denial and allegedly slapped him. Jamal is also alleged to have held Russell by his neck until the latter escaped from the room and informed the other groundsmen. One source, however, claimed that Jamal only "threatened to hit" Russell and grabbed him by the neck.
When contacted, Jamal, a former BCB director, said he had "no recollection" of such an incident, while Russell's phone was switched off.
"I don't know what you are talking about," Jamal told ESPNcricinfo. "I went to the ground to see the match but I have no recollection of such a thing happening. The team management is there. They will deal with the pitches and what not."
Jalal Yunus, the BCB's media committee chairman, said that the incident was uncalled for and that any complaints about the pitch should have been directed at the appropriate committee.
"This is very unfortunate," Yunus said. "One cannot manhandle anybody. This is against human rights. He [Jamal] could have lodged a complaint to the tournament committee. He cannot take the law in his hand. We condemn it very strongly. The board is very much aware and the board will further investigate the issue and will take action."
Akram Khan, the BCB's tournament committee chairman and the person in charge of the first-class competition, agreed with that statement and said he will investigate the matter on Monday. Jamal, however, declined to comment on the BCB statement.
Abdul Baten, the BCB national grounds manager, said that he only heard about the incident on Sunday, while the venue manager Saifullah Khan, who played 30 first-class matches for Rajshahi, said only the match referee Mujibul Haque could report the incident and not him. When contacted, Mujibul told ESPNcricinfo that he too had no idea of such an incident taking place.
Sources have said that the Rajshahi team management had reported the allegation of watering the pitch to the BCB, and that the board's anti-corruption officer present at the ground took Russell's statement following the alleged incident.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84