Bangladesh – Dhaka Premier League – DPL
The all-rounder has crossed the line several times in the past, and Bangladesh’s board has changed its rules to accommodate him
Two aspects emerged. First, none of his teammates – not even Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib’s opponent that day – tried to hold him back. Respect for referees in Bangladesh cricket is almost non-existent, but it was poor even by these standards. Second, Shakib didn’t know, or didn’t seem to know, that five second-inning overs are a T20 game. When Rahman called for the recoveries after 5.5 overs, Abahani was well short of the par score. They ultimately lost by 31 runs (DLS method). No one in Bangladesh has played T20 cricket as much as Shakib. Maybe he knew the playing conditions.
What wasn’t too surprising was Shakib’s behavior – it was hardly unusual. For ten years now, Shakib has repeatedly escaped severe sanctions or the BCB has changed its rules to accommodate him.
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The most severe action against Shakib to date was a six-month suspension in 2014. He misbehaved with then-Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, threatening to quit international cricket. The reason was that Hathurusingha, still new at the time, had asked Shakib to attend a training camp when he was about to join the CPL. But the ban was revoked after two and a half months when Bangladesh performed poorly without Shakib in the West Indies.
The footage from Saturday’s game which was viewed by all concerned is enough to suggest that Shakib has little respect for the game, his colleagues or the officials.
The other part of the story has to do with arbitration, or the alleged biased arbitration – another thing the BCB has failed to stop.
A few years ago, the Dhaka-based newspaper Prothom Alo has published an award-winning talk on the engineering of points tables in Dhaka cricket leagues, courtesy of certain clubs represented at the BCB. One of the ways to do this is to use the referees, who use their bias towards certain clubs to get the job done. The other option is to threaten other clubs and make them lose matches. Hitting the ball on the pads almost automatically causes the umpire to lift a finger for lightweight – coaches at lower league teams spend a lot of time trying to teach hitters ways to avoid being affected on the pads.
The structure of the BCB is such that the teams that finish in the top six of the DPL have additional voting rights on all questions. The same goes for the entire league system in Dhaka.
This is where point manipulation comes in, with the most powerful or wealthy clubs pulling the strings. The impact of this is obvious. The promotion and relegation of clubs is so predictable that many of those involved don’t even bother looking for talent or building a squad. Instead, they give up their BCB membership in exchange for a good sum of money and let others lead their teams.
It’s like that in Bangladesh.
This latest explosion, however, is a darker stain than before. The footage that has been viewed by all concerned is enough to suggest that Shakib has little respect for the game, his colleagues or the officials. It’s also clear that things have been allowed to reach a point where punishments and penalties don’t affect Shakib. This might not be the last time Shakib crosses the line either – now we’re waiting for the next episode to end.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s correspondent in Bangladesh. @ isam84