BCB chief lashes out at players’ strike, but says board is ‘open for talks’

BCB president Nazmul Hassan addresses the media © BCB

BCB president Nazmul Hassan has said that they are open to talks with cricketers who have called for a strike, but not before accusing them of “conspiring against and tarnishing the image of the country”.

After a 25-minute monologue which at times veered into the bizarre, an angry Hassan countered every question with “but why did they not tell us before?”

When asked how the BCB would solve the problem of the players threatening to boycott the India tour, Hassan said that they are ready to talk to the players.

“We are open,” Hassan said. “I don’t know if you listened to me. We have agreed to bigger demands. We have always given them a lot of money. We have solved each and every problem. We were focused on the World Cup, and now we are focusing on domestic cricket. They didn’t go for a strike when nothing was happening but the moment I started to do things, they did this. So these are not real issues. If they come, we are ready to talk.”

ALSO READ: The events that led up to the Bangladesh players announcing strike action

Hassan also peppered his answers with incidents in which he helped cricketers or their family members. He was then asked about how he would answer if the players pointed at the lavish travel options for Hassan or other board directors, while they had to find bus and train rides within BDT 2,500.

“Let me tell you something,” Hassan said in reply. “We made [the travel allowance] BDT 2,500 from BDT 1,000. Nobody talked about it when it was BDT 1,000. They didn’t go to strike when it was BDT 1,000, so why don’t you find out about it? We pay the divisional authorities, and they manage hotel, bus, etc. We heard them, so we will improve it. But why stop the cricket? Why before the India tour? This can’t happen.”

Hassan said the BCB was going to adopt a wait-and-watch approach for the next couple of days, when the strike action will come into effect. The NCL’s third round, in four venues, begins on October 24, while the India tour squad’s camp begins on the following day.

“I want to see who goes to the [NCL] matches, or the national camp. I want to find out who is trying to stop the India tour. I am hopeful the camp will take place, and the India tour will happen,” he said. “Most of the players want to play, and want the best for Bangladesh. I can’t believe they will destroy Bangladesh cricket for 5,000 taka. But we will soon see what is going on.”

Hassan then deflected a series of questions about the board’s conflict of interest problem, which was part of the issues the players had with the board. When asked how committed he was to reducing conflict of interest within the board, especially after the BCB ended franchise rights deals following Shakib Al Hasan’s move to Rangpur Riders from Dhaka Dynamites, which is owned by the same company where he and two other board directors are employed, Hassan had no answer.

He also deflected questions about other conflict of interest points including that of the CWAB chairman Naimur Rahman also having the role of a BCB director, Khaled Mahmud holding eleven roles within the BCB and outside, and home broadcaster Gazi TV having a BCB director as its owner.

Hassan finished the press conference saying that he had no idea about some of these conflicts, but he would find out.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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