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November 2, 2008
Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, has said the unauthorised Indian Cricket League could cripple the game in the country if more players follow the exodus. He said the large sums of money being offered by the ICL was a worrying trend as it drew players away from the national set-up before their peak.
Fourteen Bangladesh cricketers, with a mixture of current, former and uncapped players, signed up for the ICL this season and were banned by the Bangladesh Cricket Board for ten years. The ICL is yet to get official recognition from the ICC and cricket boards across the world.
"If we were to lose another six players out of our current team it probably would cripple us," Siddons said on the eve of the team's departure for South Africa. "I don't see how we can be competitive if that happens again.
"I don't know how we can stop them either, that's the hard part. There's no way to put an end to it when the ICL keeps throwing that sort of money at the players. Cricket is definitely going to suffer. They are taking young players who are not even at their peak yet and offering them lots of money. The players see the dollar signs and go."
Siddons said countries like Bangladesh had everything to lose in such a scenario, if the talent pool continued to dwindle. Bangladesh have been a Test nation for eight years but have managed just one victory and their one-day successes against major nations have been rare.
"The countries are the ones that develop the cricketers the ICL takes, so if there's no money coming back from those tournaments and into the infrastructure then eventually it's all going to dry up."
In the wake of the ICL exodus, Bangladesh have done well to stay competitive and Siddons was pleased with the recent home games during which they upset New Zealand comprehensively in the first ODI but failed to close the series. They had their chances in the first Test as well but lost by three wickets in a closely fought contest.
"We've just beaten New Zealand for the first time, so lots of little things are showing signs that some good times are just round the corner," he said. "But the team is young and inconsistency is still there."
The top order was not at its best against New Zealand and Siddons wanted the players to lift for the South Africa tour, which features two Tests, a Twenty20 and three ODIs. "They are vulnerable at the moment but if they find their feet we'll be competitive without a doubt," Siddons said. "Our middle-order batsmen and bowling will be okay, I think, over there."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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