Promising cricketer Tamim Bashir was laid to rest at the Goalkhali graveyard in Khalishpur, Khulna yesterday. The 19-year-old died of cerebral malaria in Dhaka on Friday. It is hard to accept the loss as just another death.
Now all the dreams of Bashir's family have been torn to pieces and all that remains is guessing what could have been if the danger signs were noticed earlier by the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) high performance training unit.
It is alleged that the young man's illness at BKSP in Savar was ignored by the coaching staff. Bashir, a left-arm spinner and a useful lower-order bat, last trained on June 9 with fever and complained about his physical wellbeing. Bashir's father Farid Ahmed believes that his son's death is the result of indifference shown by the high performance unit.
"My son repeatedly told them that he was not feeling well last Wednesday. But they ignored his pleas and told him to carry on training," cursed Farid while talking to the Daily Star Khulna correspondent after burying his son.
Although Bashir family sought answers, they got nothing in response from the cricket community as even his batch mates opted to remain silent. There were however a few persons who tried to console the distraught family.
"It's a tragic loss and the circumstances under which he died is really pathetic. I sympathise with the family and his teammates," said Australian coach of the high performance unit McInnes. McInnes also lamented that he was not aware of Bashir complaining to anybody about his illness during last week's training.
"I saw him batting, bowling and fielding on Wednesday (June 9). He looked normal to me. I only got to know about his sickness through his brother on Friday and I told him to stay away from any physical workouts before being recovered," McInnes said. "If we had known we could have referred him to a BKSP doctor. But by the time we realised Bashir was critically ill he was in hospital," said the Australian dismissing that any complaint had been made by the player.
But there are whisperings that Bashir complained that he was running a fever. Ajmal Ahmed, the local physio of the team, told the Daily Star Sport that Bashir did indeed complain.
"Yes, he came to me on Wednesday before the training and said that he was not feeling well. But I can not treat any patient until I am told to do it by the in-charge. I told him to go to Justin Cordy. Whether he talked with Cordy or not I do not know because he never got back to me," said Ajmal.
When The Daily Star approached Cordy, the Australian fitness trainer of the national team, denied that Bashir ever talked to him.
"I was not aware of his illness. I saw him well on Tuesday (June 8). He might have been infected before coming to the camp but the symptoms perhaps developed after Tuesday," Cordy told over telephone.
Shahidul Alam Ratan, who was in charge of spinners and wicket-keepers, also offered a similar explanation without elaborating. BCB president Ali Asghar, advisor Mahbub Anam and member secretary of grounds committee Rafiqul Islam finally went to see the deceased at the Renal Hospital on Friday to offer their condolences.
But Bashir's family needs more than sympathy at the moment. The demand a proper investigation into the circumstances of Bashir's death.
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