Shakib Al Hasan
's outburst, directed at the umpires for the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) T20 game between Mohammedan Sporting Club and Abahani Limited
, grabbed eyeballs, but it will likely not do much more than that. It will certainly not do anything to right the wrongs of Bangladesh cricket, which is set in its own, inscrutable ways. Shakib, of course, will serve a three-match ban
and pay a Taka 500,000 (US$ 5800 approx.) fine, but that's about it.
Twice during that game, Shakib lost his cool with the officials
. Once, he kicked at the stumps in anger when his lbw appeal was turned down by Imran Parvez, and then, when Mahfuzur Rahman signalled for the covers to be brought on as it had started to rain, he rushed towards the umpire, ripped out the stumps, and hurled them to the ground. There was also a scuffle with Abahani coach Khaled Mahmud when the teams left the ground.
Two aspects stood out. First, none of his team-mates - or even Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib's opponent on the day - tried to restrain him. Respect for umpires in Bangladesh cricket is almost non-existent, but this was poor even by those standards. Second, Shakib did not know, or seemed to not know, that five overs in the second innings constitutes a result match in T20 cricket. When Rahman called for the covers after 5.5 overs, Abahani were well behind the par score. They eventually lost by 31 runs (DLS method). No one from Bangladesh has played as much T20 cricket as Shakib has. He might have known the playing conditions.
What wasn't too much of a surprise was Shakib's behaviour - it was hardly uncharacteristic. For ten years now, time and again, Shakib has either escaped serious punishment or the BCB has tweaked its rules to accommodate him.
The first suspension came in 2014. That was when Shakib made an inappropriate gesture when the TV camera panned towards the Bangladesh dressing room during an ODI against Sri Lanka. It was a punishment four years too late
- he had already had a few public outbursts that had gone unpunished.
The most severe action taken by the BCB against Shakib to date - not counting, of course, the ICC's one-year suspension
for failing to report bookie approaches - has been a six-month ban in 2014. He had misbehaved with then Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, threatening to quit international cricket. The reason was that Hathurusingha, still new to the job at the time, had asked Shakib to attend a training camp when he was on his way to join the CPL. But the ban was revoked after two-and-a-half months when Bangladesh performed poorly without Shakib in the West Indies.
The footage of Saturday's match that has been viewed by everyone relevant is enough to suggest that Shakib has little regard for the game, his colleagues, or the officials.
The other part of the story has to do with umpiring, or alleged biased umpiring - another thing the BCB has failed to contain.
Shakib's outburst has brought the attention back on shoddy umpiring, which first became a big talking point in 2017. That was when the little-known Sujon Mahmud conceded 92 runs in one over
, in protest against alleged intimidation on the part of the umpires - Azizul Bari Babu and Shamsur Rahman Jacky - who reportedly demanded that Lalmatia Club (Sujon's team) throw their league match against Axiom Cricketers, and do so by mid-day. BCB banned Sujon for ten years, but that decision, too, came after a sloppy investigation
A couple of years ago, the Dhaka-based newspaper Prothom Alo published an award-winning exposé on points-table engineering in the Dhaka cricket leagues, courtesy only certain clubs having representation in the BCB. One of the ways it is done is through umpires, who use their bias towards some clubs to get the job done. The other option is to threaten other clubs, and get them to lose matches. Ball hitting pad almost automatically leads to the umpiring raising the finger for lbw - coaches in lower-league teams have been known to spend a lot of time trying to teach batters ways to avoid getting hit on the pads.
The BCB structure is such that teams that finish in the top six in the DPL have additional voting rights on all matters. The same is true for the entire Dhaka league system.
That's where the points manipulation comes in, with the richer and more powerful clubs pulling the strings. The impact of this is obvious. The promotion and relegation of clubs is so predictable that many of those affected don't even bother with scouting for talent or building a team. Instead, they give up their BCB memberships in exchange for good money, and let others run their teams.
This is how it is in Bangladesh.
This latest blow-up, however, is a stain darker than before. The footage that has been viewed by everyone relevant is enough to suggest that Shakib has little regard for the game, his colleagues, or the officials. It is also clear that things have been allowed to reach a stage where punishments and penalties don't affect Shakib. This might not be the last time Shakib crosses the line either - we now wait for the next episode to drop.