The crucial Dhaka Premier League match between two giants Mohammedan Sporting Club and Abahani, scheduled to be held today at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, has become uncertain after a dramatic decision by the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis.
In an apparent move to favour Abahani, the CCDM convened an emergency meeting and increased the quota of foreign players from five to seven, sparking an angry reaction from Mohammedan.
Mohammedan threatened to boycott the game unless the dubious decision is reversed and were holding a meeting at the club to decide their course of action when this report was filed.
When the infuriated Mohammedan officials were holding talks, Abahani were on their way to the CCDM to register their sixth foreign player – Rajat Bhatia, a 31-year all-rounder from Tamil Nadu.
It was earlier decided that a team would be able to register a maximum of five foreign players and only two of them would be able to play.
Abahani had already completed the registration of their five foreign players – Pakistani Fahat Alam, India’s Mithun Mannas, Shikhar Dhawan, Yashpal Singh and Australian Lee Carseldine – but did not get the desired a result.
‘This is absolutely unethical, and almost unprecedented in the league’s history, to change the by-laws in the middle of the league,’ fumed Tariqul Islam Titu, the representative of Mohammedan at the CCDM meeting.
‘The chairman of the CCDM is involved with Abahani and he only served their interest,’ he said.
‘We will decide tonight whether we will participate in the league or not as we are disgusted at the way the CCDM treated us,’ said Titu.
Titu alleged that the CCDM chairman was also involved in underhand dealings to convince a few other clubs so that his club can get their man.
‘Some of the clubs opposed the idea of increasing the number of foreign players, but dramatically they changed their hearts during a 10-minute tea break,’ he alleged.
Tamim, already a controversial figure in the Bangladesh Cricket Board, for shoddy dealings of World Cup tickets, however, defended the CCDM decision.
‘By-laws are made to help us and we can always change it if it is required,’ Tamim told reporters.
‘National players won’t be able to participate in the Super League after January 20, so the clubs will depend on foreigners. That’s why we have taken this decision,’ said Tamim.