Saber fears for future
Saber fears for future
Former Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Saber Hossain Chowdhury has expressed his deepest concerns for the future of the game in the country.
"There's no leadership in the present Board. It appears to me that the BCB is functioning without a vision and a roadmap. If it continues like this, our cricket will only go back while our competitors will move ahead," said Saber during an informal gathering of sports journalists of leading national dailies at his residence yesterday.
"There is a tendency among the present Board setup to banish every programme initiated by us, which is a mistake. They should have continued with the development. Now they are going back to square one just to undermine our efforts."
The popular cricket organiser lauded the two-member probe committee's report on Bangladesh's disastrous World Cup campaign and said it was time that the Board showed its sincerity in implementing the body's recommendations.
"A few months ago, I gave a ten-point suggestion to address the current crisis that has gripped the country's cricket. One of the main points there was de-politicization of the Board. The probe body also highlighted on the same point in its recommendations. Besides, it also emphasised on making the various sub-committees active, inclusion of former national players in the selection process etc which was also in line with our perception."
Saber however was critical of the Board's attitude following the disclosure of the report.
"You see, only the chief selector stepped down taking full responsibility of his actions. But you also have to hold the person who had appointed him, accountable."
He also took a swipe at the present BCB boss Ali Asghar.
"The probe report found the president of the Board at fault in certain areas. But he just admitted that he made some mistakes. That is not good enough. He should have resigned from his position taking the blame on his shoulders to set an example. That way, accountability would also have been established. If the government still thought that he was the right man for the job, then he could have been asked to carry on."
Saber dismissed recent claims by Asghar that he had inherited only three-crore taka when he took over and also questioned allegations of excessive spending at the Board's Annual General Meeting in Cox's Bazar during his reign.
"It's claimed that we spent around Taka 28 lakh at the AGM. It could have been Taka two crore for I know. But the fact remains that we had ensured a cash flow of Taka 150 crore from different sources for the sport until the year 2006. So the BCB is guaranteed to receive that money. During my term, we never had to stretch our means. Whatever funding you see now is just a outcome of that process we had put in place."
Regarding the High Court's decision to suspend the activities of the Board of Directors, Saber felt that it was having a negative impact.
"When a sports body's activities is determined in the court, it can never have a positive effect. I still feel that the Board of Directors concept is the ideal way to bring professionalism in the BCB. There's no alternative to professionalism in today's reality.
"In a recent interview with the BBC, the Board president said that the ability of the present advisors council will be proved by the Bangladesh team's performance on the field. If that is the case, then I'm afraid, the adhoc body of the BCB has failed."
Saber came down hard on the Board's apparent inability to defend Bangladesh's position in international cricket.
"A lot of people are making poor remarks about the standard of our cricket around the world. I'm surprised that the BCB boss, who attended the International Cricket Council (ICC)'s meeting in England recently, didn't protest the new ICC chief Ehsan Mani's sweeping comments about Bangladesh.
"The Board has also kept silent on statements of some former Australian players that Bangladesh should be relegated or thrown out of Test cricket. It's a shame. The BCB should stand up and make a strong counter.
"Internationally we are being isolated day-by-day. It is also doing a lot of harm for international cricket as Bangladesh was the model for globalization of the game. Now sponsors are shying away too because of the bad publicity and the Board doesn't have the diplomatic skills to overcome the crisis," observed Saber.