Dhaka, Oct 23 (AFP/APP): The boycotting Bangladeshi players made new demands on Wednesday including a share of the board’s revenue as a crisis surrounding cricket in the country deepened.
Supreme Court lawyer Mustafizur Rahman Khan read out a list of 13 demands on behalf of the Bangladeshi cricketers at a news conference, which also included a “feasible” wage for female players. “Arrangements will have to be made where professional cricketers are given a fair share of the revenue generated by BCB (Bangladesh Cricket Board), which, after all, is made possible through the toil and performance of professional cricketers,” said Rahman, citing the example of Australia.
Bangladesh national and first-class players on Monday announced a strike calling for better pay and benefits, casting doubt on the country’s tour of India due to start in early November. National Test and Twenty20 captain Shakib Al Hasan, also one of the world’s finest all-rounders, led the revolt, with all the star players joining the unprecedented protests.
The strike follows increasing criticism from the players that the BCB, the nation’s richest sports body, is not sharing its wealth. Their demands include a 50 percent pay hike for first-class players, the expansion of national pay contracts, increased match fees in domestic four-day and 50-over games, and better benefits for grounds staff. But in his first reaction after the strike, the BCB’s president Nazmul Hassan called it a “conspiracy” unrelated to pay.
Shakib and other senior players were present at Wednesday’s press conference saying they are ready for talks as demanded by the BCB. “They (the BCB) have called us there and we will definitely go. We are hoping that after our meeting, all the things will be solved,” said Shakib.
The strike comes just weeks before Bangladesh are due to play three Twenty20 internationals and two Tests in India next month. BCB president Hassan said on Tuesday the tour will go ahead despite the players’ strike. “If the players don’t want to play they won’t… The camp (for the tour) will start after two days, if they want to come they will come, if they want to go they will go,” he said.
The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations praised the players “for taking a stand together in order to secure fair conditions,” the body’s executive chairman Tony Irish said in a statement late on Tuesday.
“This has happened despite the challenging environment for players to collectivise in Bangladesh and it is a clear indication of the need for change in the way players are treated in what we regard as an important cricket country.”