Bangladesh's chief selector Akram Khan has resigned from his post, citing interference from the board president in team selection. Akram's resignation comes a day after BCB president Mustafa Kamal rejected the inclusion of high-profile opener Tamim Iqbal, Akram's nephew, in the 14-man squad for the upcoming Asia Cup.
"Tamim was in our team because he is one of the best batsmen we have," Akram told AFP. "But the president dropped him from the final list. His regular interference in team selection has made top players worried about their place in the national squad. I have resigned because I was not enjoying my job."
Akram had, last July, asked for a change in the selection procedure that would remove the stage of the selectors having to discuss the squad with the board's technical committee before giving it to the president for approval. That did not materialise and now Akram has said that the president himself is a hindrance to the selection process.
BCB spokesman Jalal Yunus confirmed Akram had resigned after eight months in the position. Akram was a former Bangladesh captain and one of the country's biggest cricketing names.
"We had a long discussion yesterday and whatever Nannu Bhai [Minhazul Abedin] and Sumon [Habibul Bashar] told me were logical," Akram told the media yesterday. "But ever since I became a selector 4-5 years ago, there were a lot of things that happened in regards to selection which made me unhappy.
"After I become the chief selector last year, there were problems from the beginning which I tried to settle and sometimes succeeded in doing so. I had to bear the brunt of such issues, so I decided that it is better to step down.
"The ACC tells us to give a 15-man team for the Asia Cup but Tamim was removed from here and made a standby. We took the decision on his inclusion after seeing physio Vibhav Singh and Dr Debashish Roy's report. I wasn't even informed of the change; I got to know like you did which really hurt me. I have a piece of paper to prove it."
But Tamim isn't the first name that was slashed at the whim of the board president and directors who are members of the technical committee.
"One incident happened with (Mohammad) Ashraful, when he was picked against Pakistan last year. We had Raqibul Hasan and Shuvagata Hom as middle-order candidates but they weren't scoring big. Ashraful was scoring at that time and we wanted him to play two Tests but he didn't play. We weren't able to take that decision independently," Akram said.
Contrary to what Akram has said over the past two days, his colleague Minhazul has insisted that there was no interference. "This is Akram's personal decision and I respect it. But this wasn't interference but the board president has only kept one player out on fitness grounds. The rest is our team," he said.
Tamim is widely regarded as one of Bangladesh's most-talented cricketers. At 22, he is already third on the list of run-scorers in both Tests and one-dayers for Bangladesh and is the only Bangladesh cricketer to win the Wisden International Cricketer of the Year award, which he earned in 2010 for his two Test centuries in England. Tamim's ODI form has dipped in the last 12 months though: he averages 22.56 from 17 games with two half-centuries.
He has also had several disciplinary problems. He was stripped of the vice-captaincy after Bangladesh's tour of Zimbabwe last year because of indiscipline, including arguing with the head coach; he was banned from a domestic game after an altercation with senior batsman Mohammad Ashraful; and during the recent Bangladesh Premier League, he had differences with his franchise, Chittagong Kings, team director Dean Jones.
The Asia Cup, which features India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in addition to hosts Bangladesh begins on March 11.
Edited by Dustin Silgardo