Akram Khan doesn’t have to look too far for support after taking such a bold decision.
As he submitted the resignation letter to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Wednesday morning, messages from former teammates poured in; his family and friends have backed him fully. More importantly, Akram has won the respect of almost everyone interested in Bangladesh cricket, be it the former and current players, fans as well as some officials.
As a man who has broken the mould by becoming the first chief selector to resign his post, Akram definitely had a mighty decision to take but after a wait of a day and a half, he came to the conclusion that his exit would be the dignified choice.
But it was a decision that had to be taken by someone at some stage. Akram, with all his playing experience and time as a selector, thought long and hard and resisted persuasion from his colleagues Habibul Bashar and Minhazul Abedin.
“We had a long discussion yesterday and whatever Nannu bhai and Sumon told me were logical,” said Akram yesterday. “But ever since I became a selector 4-5 years ago, there were a lot of things that happened with regards to selection which made me unhappy.”
“After I became 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,” added the man who led Bangladesh to the seminal ICC Trophy triumph in 1997.
“The ACC tells us to give a 15-man team for the Asia Cup but Tamim was removed and made a standby. We took the decision on his inclusion after seeing physio Vibhav Singh and Dr Debashish Roy’s report,” said Akram.
“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 I don’t know what Nannu bhai is saying,” he said when told that the other former captain has said that there was no interference.
But Tamim’s isn’t the first name to be slashed at the whim of the board president and directors who are members of the technical committee.
“One incident happened with Ashraful, when he was picked against Pakistan last year. We had Rokibul Hasan and Shuvogoto 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,” he said.
Akram has also hinted that the cricket board is hampering the team’s stability. “A team can only do well if they have established players. Take a look around the world; a player who is established in a certain position will do better. My target was to make an established team, but we had to tinker with it,” explained Akram.
Bashar said that the decision has come as a shock to him. “We have worked together for seven months, and I believe that we have worked hard and honestly. For us it is a little shocking,” he said.
In the face of utmost pressure, a man most unlikely to walk out has boldly done so. This is a decision that will give Bangladesh cricket a lot of strength at a time of tremendous need.
-With The Daily Star input