Thursday, June 13, 2024

Regional cricket left in lurch

Regional cricket was the most neglected side under the present executive committee of the Bangladesh Cricket Board as it is set to complete its full-term of four years today.
When the 27-member board of directors took over the charge on October 13, 2013, one of their major pledges was strengthening regional cricket in order to produce more talents and keep the domestic cricket competitive.
But the BCB paid little attention to this area as opposed to their promise, keeping cricket still Dhaka-centric with no attempt to form regional cricket associations or reform divisional bodies.
International cricket was also mostly limited in Dhaka, leaving the organisers of other divisions waiting for the share of their pie.
Each division was represented by one councillor in the BCB and some of them were elected as director only to be left regretting for not doing enough or anything for their respective division.
Sheikh Sohel, BCB councillor from Khulna Divisional Sports Council, was happy as he could arrange at least one Test match in his city (against Pakistan in 2015) but felt he could have done much better in terms of capacity-building.
‘I’m really happy that we could arrange a Test match against Pakistan in Khulna. But due to some limitations, we could not have done better,’ he said.
‘You know ICC has certain requirements to host a Test match. We did not have that much facility, like a five-star hotel, in Khulna.’
Sohel says he will try to sort out the problem and also increase the capacity of the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium if he gets further opportunity to work as a councillor in next election, scheduled on October 31.
‘I will be looking forward to enhancing the capacity of the stadium if I am elected as a councillor for the upcoming term. I will also try to involve local and foreign businessmen to establish a five-star hotel in Khulna which is still as the major concern for us in arranging international matches,’ he added.
Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel, the BCB councillor from Sylhet Divisional Sports Council, had a mix feeling with his work in last four years when he saw priority was mostly given in infrastructure development than development of the game.
Over the past four years, Sylhet was awarded the matches of ICC WorldTwenty20 and many lower-grade competitions but the Sylhet divisional cricket team, which was full of talents even a few years ago, lost its charm due to the absence of enough quality players.
‘Overall it was a mix journey for me,’ said Nadel. ‘We all dreamt about regional cricket association but unfortunately, we could not do it. But I am happy that we could develop some infrastructure in Sylhet in last four years,’ he said.
Chittagong division councillor Akram Khan also felt the need of regional cricket association.
‘The BCB got many initiatives to improve cricket at the divisional level. They could have been properly utilised if we had regional cricket association in place,’ said Akram, who was nominated by Chittagong Divisional Sports Association for the upcoming election again.
Dhaka divisional councillor Dewan Shafiul Arefin Tutul felt sidelined in the past four years due to cricket politics.
‘I think there is nothing you can do for your division as councillor apart from attending the AGM and EGM. You have to work with the Bangladesh Cricket Board if you really want to act as a councillor,’ said Tutul, formerly a powerful BCB official, who carefully distanced himself from the present committee.

-With New Age input

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