Protes-ters in the hometown of pace bowler Mashrafee bin Murtaza observed a half-day general strike on Thursday following the former captain’s omission from Bangladesh’s final 15-man World Cup squad.
They also burnt an effigy of coach Jamie Siddons and vandalised some vehicles in the district town of Narail, 300kms (188 miles) southwest of Dhaka.
There were protests at the Dhaka University campus and some other areas of the capital at the exclusion of Mashrafee from the World Cup squad, although he is suffering from a knee injury picked up in a domestic competition.
The fans had called for a dawn to dusk strike in Narail, but reduced it to half-day shutdown from 6:00am to 2:00pm to facilitate the holding of a fair, named after veteran artist SM Sultan, which began on Thursday.
Hundreds of fans took to the streets since morning and set up barricades in at least 10 places of the tiny town situated on the bank of River Chitra. The District Lawyers Association boycotted the court and joined the protesters to observe the strike.
They held coach Siddons responsible for the decision and chanted slogans against the selection committee members, who were sceptical about the player’s chances to being fit in time for the Feb 19-April 2 event, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
After a protest meeting on the court road, they submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner of Narail, seeking to draw the attention of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Meanwhile, the state minister for youth and sports, Ahad Ali Sarkar, visited the home of Mashrafee to console him.
‘We must respect the decision of the BCB,’ Sarkar told reporters at his home.
‘I am sure they have taken the decision in the best interest of the country and Mashrafee. Still I will talk to them and see the physiotherapist’s report.’
The national team’s Australian physico Michael Henry on Wednesday told New Age that he has never said in his report that Mashrafee will not be fit before the World Cup.
The sate minister said he will ask the BCB to provide him the details of the report.