Friday, June 14, 2024

What about BCB captain?

It has almost been a week since Manic Monday when Bangladesh Cricket Board directors gathered to depose the captain of the national team at an abnormally dizzying speed; a decision that has left the Tigers with a leadership vacuum.
The verdict, especially the manner in which it was taken, can be described as an act of Nero and has revealed how poorly the BCB itself is led.
The meeting on September 5 was not scheduled to discuss the captaincy. Among the several agendas were the four tour reports, compiled individually by the coach, manager, chief of delegations and selector. How these reports were turned into such an important decision soon became well known, like every other classified information within the cricket board.
It is suggested that a clique of directors planned the move and raised the topic of Shakib Al Hasan’s removal as captain (and Tamim Iqbal’s as the deputy) for failing to lead on and off the field, their disciplinary indiscretions being the major talking point. But it was down to just one person with the authority to put a stop to this sudden move and take sensible strides.
AHM Mustafa Kamal, the BCB chief, could have easily told his colleagues to calm down and discuss the issue, maybe fine and suspend the duo before making such a drastic decision, since it was bound to be taken at some point.
Let alone take that route or order a full inquiry into the matter, Kamal took the easiest option: he sided with the impetuous directors and did as they pleased.
He decided to paper over the cracks, sideline the other important major issues. Rather than finding out why the national team was so inadequately prepared for the Zimbabwe tour or why the pitches across the country are dead or why the country’s first-class tournament is termed picnic or why Shakib and Tamim were never brought under the law, Kamal took his favourite route: showboating, staying in the headlines, etc.
It was not much of a surprise, and it would not be a surprise if Shakib is all of a sudden reinstated. It could happen, for this cricket board is in the phase of its worst presidential cycle.
Never before has any BCB chief taken the country’s cricket so many steps in the opposite direction. His actions have not been proactive and for the last two years, Kamal has been the most unpopular president in the board’s history. So much so, his words which should have been honoured and cherished, is not taken seriously by anyone in the fear of a publicity stunt.
Without going into too many examples, two of his latest ones would be good enough to illustrate the aforementioned statement. On August 18, Kamal categorically said that the board should be investigated rather than the players after the Tigers had conceded the ODI series to Zimbabwe. “Players are not the main problem,” he said just 23 days ago.
A month or so earlier, Kamal’s handling of the ICC presidency matter was questionable to say the least and if it ultimately doesn’t come to Bangladesh, everyone will point the finger at him.
The speed at which he often shifts his stance on pressing matters has made him a president unpredictable. If this were a cricket match, the batsman Kamal would have been out hit wicket.
There has been an erosion of professionalism within the BCB too, resulting in the vicious rumour that a section within the cricket board is planning to take professionals out of the board and reopen the gate for glorified amateurs to take major decisions. What Saber Hossain Chowdhury, the visionary former BCB president, strived to change all those years ago for the greater good of cricket in Bangladesh is being dismantled quite easily by the man in charge now.
It is glaringly obvious that Kamal has least control over the board, which has looked utterly lost as an organising body.
As the Tigers look for cricketing salvation against West Indies next month, the BCB too has to get its act together soon. Under such a leader, it is a fanciful possibility at the moment.

-With The Daily Star input

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