By Ruma Paul
DHAKA (Reuters) – Bangladesh’s cricket board lashed out at the players who hatched a “conspiracy” to destabilise the game in the country by striking, while an international federation of players’ associations came out in support of the action on Tuesday.
The country’s top players led by national captain Shakib Al Hasan went on strike on Monday demanding better pay and conditions, putting the side’s planned tour of India from Nov. 3 in doubt.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan said the board was open to discussions, but he criticised the players and said the administrators would try to find out who instigated the strike.
“This is shocking. I can’t even imagine that our players can do something like this,” Hassan told a news conference.
“We’ll find who is behind this conspiracy,” he said.
As well as hefty pay increases, players are demanding a return to a franchise-based model in the Bangladesh Premier League.
“If they don’t want to play, they won’t. What will you gain if you don’t play? I don’t understand why you have to stop playing for the demands,” Hassan said.
“If anyone wants to talk, the doors are open for them,” he said, adding that players were not answering calls.
But the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) backed the players on Tuesday, commending them for “taking a stand together”.
“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,” FICA Executive Chairman Tony Irish said in a statement.
“It is also clear to us that the players in Bangladesh don’t feel heard or respected in relation to important issues that affect them in their careers and that affect their livelihoods.”
The players’ body is also unhappy with the role played by the Cricketers’ Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB) and plans to review its membership of FICA.
“It is of further concern that it appears that office bearers of CWAB hold positions with the Bangladesh Cricket Board,” Irish said.
(Writing by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)