‘Only those who love the game should play’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 23, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 23, 2021

‘Only those who love the game should play’

With the question of players' commitment recently becoming a hot topic, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is now focusing on revising the terms of the central contracts of national cricketers. 

There has been a lot of talk about BCB's decision to allow star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan to miss the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka and play in the Indian Premier League instead after he was roped in by Kolkata Knight Riders for a whopping 3.2 crore rupees during the auction last Thursday.

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While the BCB said they do not want to force players to play, the reality is that they could not stop Shakib because he is not among the current lot of centrally contracted players as he was serving out a one-year ban when the contracts were prepared last year.

"I can't deny the fact [of Shakib's request making him feel like a hostage] and it's not that such things didn't happen in the past, but now our mind is very clear," BCB President Nazmul Hassan told the media yesterday. "We are not going to force anyone and those who are not interested in playing, won't play. Nobody is indispensable. We want all to play but if someone likes to play in other leagues ahead of the national team, they are free to go.

"This message is for all and not just for Shakib. In fact, we have discussed it and we are going for a contract as we didn't make the new contract for this year yet. We are going to add a few things -- the players have to mention which format they want to play. If the players sign the contract, we won't allow them to play in other leagues. Now it's open -- previously it was based on the individual and now we are making it contractual."

The BCB boss expressed disappointment and raised questions about whether Shakib really enjoys playing Tests.

"Look, if we want, we could have forced Shakib to play Test matches but we don't want this anymore. We want that only those who actually love this game should play. If you have noticed, Shakib didn't want to play Test cricket three years back.

"He didn't show any interest in Test cricket and we even made him the captain and forced him but you can't force anyone to play. That is why we are unable to move forward and are instead going backward. If we know who are the players not willing to play Test cricket, we must look for substitutes. Maybe it takes one year or more but we will get some players for the future," said Hassan.

From Hassan's words, it was not clear whether the BCB would allow players to take part in other franchise leagues if there is no international commitment during that time. Previously, the BCB had issued No Objection Certificate (NOC) to players wanting to play franchise leagues abroad at the last minute. But Hassan said the board will no longer provide NOCs at the last minute.

"Mustafizur [Rahman] came to me today [Monday] and asked whether he could play the IPL. I said if you want to play you can by giving us an application; I have no problem," said Hassan.

It was learned that the board wants the central contract to be more specific keeping the interest and commitment of the players in mind.

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