Cloud over cricket

Chief selector resigns over interference
Akram Khan quit as chief selector yesterday, thirty-six hours after Bangladesh Cricket Board president AHM Mustafa Kamal dropped Tamim Iqbal from the Asia Cup squad.
The resignation of the former national captain is being hailed by the cricket community as the meddling in team selection is rapidly outgrowing the national cricket team’s performance.
The penny dropped on Monday night, when Kamal sent Akram an e-mail where a 14-member squad was put together, dropping one player from the fifteen selected originally. Akram’s immediate reaction was to tell the media that Tamim was in his selected squad.
But ultimately, despite holding a long discussion with co-selectors Habibul Bashar and Minhazul Abedin who had reportedly tried to dissuade him, Akram decided to relinquish the pivotal position.
“I wasn’t comfortable [as the chief selector] but I always hoped it would be alright,” said Akram from the selectors’ office in Mirpur yesterday.
“Day after day, the problems piled up and I had to resign. My job is not a private matter, but a national issue.
“A decision that I make can benefit everyone or the exact opposite can happen. I have resigned because I couldn’t do my work in a proper way,” added Akram.
Khaled Mahmud, another former national captain, has stood firmly behind Akram and his decision.
“I salute Akram Khan for taking a wise decision,” said the former Tigers all-rounder. “He is one of the heroes of Bangladesh cricket and only a man of his stature could take this decision.
“Everyone is worried about where the whole affair of the cricket is headed,” added Mahmud.
After taking over from Rafiqul Alam in April last year, Akram ran into trouble after the technical committee — a body to oversee team selections — began poking nose in his business.
The squad selected for the Zimbabwe series had to be delayed as a result but Akram had mentioned at the time that rather than hindering the process, the committee should have a reviewing role. Kamal however couldn’t correct the technical committee, made of highly influential BCB directors; he went on to interfere further, making sure the teams were approved at his whim rather than by men of cricket.
During last year’s Pakistan series, the declaration of the team for the second Test was delayed till the day before the match; the contentious issues being Mohammad Ashraful and Shahriar Nafees as Akram has revealed now.
Akram’s resignation is merely the tip of the iceberg as far as the ongoing trouble in Bangladesh cricket is concerned.
Without any focus on pertinent issues like setting up a proper first-class cricket structure and stabilising the cricket board, Kamal & Co are more inclined to appease personal goals.
Starting from the president’s obsession with the ICC presidency and the board directors’ tremendous interest in the Bangladesh Premier League, the Kamal-led BCB has also brusquely taken away the captaincy from Shakib Al Hasan and not to mention meddle in almost every squad selected in the last three years.
Akram’s resignation has posed two critical questions to the current cricket board: whether it is adamant to push out cricketers and whether it believes in professionalism.

-With The Daily Star input

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