Irresponsible, unprofessional, autocratic and selfish
BARELY a month ago, the president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board courted serious controversy and, in fact, the wrath of millions of cricket-loving Bangladeshi fans, when he dropped Bangladesh national cricket team player Tamim Iqbal from the final squad for the Asia Cup, overriding a decision by the selectors to include him. The president’s arbitrary decision, which also prompted the chief selector to resign at the time, had to be finally corrected by the prime minister herself. Around the same time, Mustafa Kamal also made enemies with virtually the entire cricketer community, when the cricket board passed through an amendment to the BCB constitution which disallowed former cricketers from becoming councillors of the board. Since then, Kamal has been at the receiving end of some serious criticism from former players and cricket fans alike for the unilateral, arbitrary and high-handed manner in which he has been running the board.
One would have expected Kamal to ‘lay low’, so to speak, after all the angry reactions he has been eliciting. Instead, on Monday, Kamal pushed his authoritarianism a notch higher, when he unilaterally decided to send the Bangladesh cricket team on tour to Pakistan, putting his signature down on the tour schedule, without any top BCB official being aware of it. Kamal not only agreed on the tour, but the venue and schedule as well (usually the task of the cricket operations committee at the cricket board), and released a joint statement with the BCB logo inserted on the page, even though the statement had not been released by the cricket board.
Talks about a tour to Pakistan by the Bangladesh team had been ongoing for a while — according to most quarters, a return favour for Pakistan backing Kamal for the post of ICC vice-president — but in recent weeks had fallen into uncertainty after the International Cricket Council decided not to send its officials to officiate the tour. No cricket-playing country has toured Pakistan since 2009, ever since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus, and the proposed tour had already created much controversy in the country, more so, when the ICC did not even deem it safe to send their officials. It was only expected then that Bangladesh would not eventually be touring Pakistan.
While top BCB officials, according to reports published in New Age, professed to their complete ignorance about the tour, former players have already reacted strongly to another ‘arbitrary’ decision by the board president, with some alleging that the players are being made a ‘guinea pig’ to Kamal’s personal ambitions.
A tour to Pakistan is indeed an important decision. The top officials of the board in various capacities, security experts and in fact the government itself must all be involved in making such an important decision. The opinions of players and former players must also be paid heed to in this regard. The decision — to tour or not to tour — must also come following the due process, with proper involvement of the ICC. Instead, what the BCB president has done is not just unacceptable, it is also irresponsible, unprofessional, autocratic, and downright selfish.
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