Habibul Bashar, who was named captain of the ICL's Dhaka Warriors, has been banned for ten years by the Bangladesh board
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has announced a ten-year ban for 13 of its top cricketers for joining the unauthorised ICL, and is now hoping that the IPL and the Champions Twenty20 League will help it revive and boost the game in the country.
An emergency meeting of the board on Wednesday afternoon decided to ban "players, officials and technical staff of the BCB who participate in events not authorised by the ICC and BCB". A press release said the board was examining legal technicalities "for taking appropriate proceedings" against the ICL players and has also decided to "review the existing format of the contracts with players to discourage such abrupt action by cricketers in the future".
Ahmed Sajjadul Alam, a BCB executive board member who was part of the meeting, told Cricinfo that the ICL ban would act as a "deterrent" and set an example "in the interests of Bangladesh cricket". He also termed suggestions that the country's Test status would be affected by the exodus as "terribly unfair", and claimed it had adequate replacements to ensure that New Zealand, who are visiting this month, is "in for a surprise".
Admitting that Bangladesh will have to "accept the reality and move on", Alam said: "We now hope that one of our teams will be able to participate in the Champions League in another year or so, and that will be a huge boost for the country and its players. In fact we have received some kind of an assurance from IPL officials that they would look at recruiting more of our players so that they don't feel left out financially. We are also in touch with other cricketing boards on how they can help us."
Abdur Razzak, the left-arm spinner, is the only Bangladesh player currently in the IPL and was signed up by Bangalore Royal Challengers for US$50,000. Although national boards don't get a share of IPL revenues, they will receive a significant sum for participating in the Champions Twenty20 along with a separate participation fee for their domestic Twenty20 champion teams that are invited. The Champions League is hoping to expand from eight teams this year to 12 in 2009.
Alam, who also heads the BCB's media committee, said an example had been set in the interests of Bangladesh cricket. "We want this ban, which is in line with the ICC's policy on unauthorised cricket, to act as a firm deterrent for others."
Alam said that allegations from some of the ICL recruits that they were mistreated by the BCB were "ridiculous" and added, "These players should be honest and admit openly they did this just for the money. That's the main reason. Why can't they be forthright about it? These players have let down their country and its people and opted to join a commercial venture which will benefit a group of individuals and nobody else.
"There have been demonstrations and meetings here by fans who feel cheated by these players," Alam said. "We have received so many phone calls from fans expressing disgust at what these players have done. These are cricket lovers who have sacrificed a lot for the game; people who have thronged the stadiums to watch these players play; who have paid money to do that - money that has gone into the development and upbringing of these players."
The 13 Bangladesh players who signed up for the ICL will be part of the Dhaka Warriors team that was unveiled in New Delhi on Tuesday. The team, which will compete in the second season from October 10, will be led by Habibul Bashar, the former national captain, and included recent internationals Aftab Ahmed, Alok Kapali, Shahriar Nafees, Farhad Reza, Dhiman Ghosh and Mosharraf Hossain.
Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo