| NEW DELHI, Sept 16
NEW DELHI, Sept 16 Bangladesh cricket plunged
into crisis and its test future looked bleak on Tuesday after 13
leading players signed up for the unofficial Indian Cricket
Former skipper Habibul Bashar was unveiled in New Delhi to
lead ICL's new Dhaka Warriors team in the Twenty20 league.
Playing in the ICL attracts an automatic ban from all forms
of official cricket.
Bashar and at least six others stunned the Bangladesh
Cricket Board (BCB), already struggling to build a good side,
after filing retirement requests to free them up to sign ICL
The mass exodus will sting Bangladesh, who have won just one
of their 53 tests (47 defeats) since making their debut in 2000.
Bashar's best playing days are over but all rounders Alok
Kapali and Farhad Reza, and wicket keeper Dhiman Ghosh, were all
part of this month's ODI tour of Australia.
Money appeared to be a key factor behind the decision of the
Bangladesh players, who were not picked by the official Indian
Premier League (IPL) teams because they were not considered good
The ICL deals were reported to be around $200,000 over three
years, five times more than what a top Bangladesh player earns
on an annual central contract, media reports said.
However, players will have to pay a price since angry fans
will see this as an act of betrayal.
Bangladesh cricket has only managed to pull off rare wins
over major sides. Its best one-day wins were achieved against
Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup and over Australia in 2005.
Although they shocked India to knock them out in the first
round of the 2007 edition in West Indies, many players were
reportedly unhappy with their central contracts.
The ICL looks at the swoop as an achievement, after they
lured away many New Zealand players last year including strike
bowler Shane Bond.
Many Pakistan players ignored by their selectors have also
joined the ICL, backed by the promoters of India's biggest
listed media firm Zee Telefilms Ltd.
A Bangladesh board official was dismayed.
"We knew that the situation was bad but weren't expecting
this at all," BCB executive member Shafiqur Rahman told Indian
"We do understand that there were issues but nothing that
couldn't have been sorted out," he said. "These private leagues
are luring cricketers with the kind of money that has never been
heard of and that is appalling.
"The country has to come first."
The International Cricket Council (ICC), working to improve
the standard of weaker nations, was guarded.
"The position of the ICC in relation to ICL is that
unofficial cricket don't have the sanction of the ICC members,"
an ICC spokesman said on Tuesday.
"I can't comment on this specific instance, it is a matter
for the Bangladesh board," he said.
Himanshu Mody, business head of Zee Sports, said ICL did not
expect official recognition soon but was confident its improving
credibility would help break even after this season.
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)