Vol. 5 Num 180 Thu. November 25, 2004  

What happened in the dressing room?

The preliminary camp of the Bangladesh team for next-month's home series against India reportedly experienced an unsavory incident involving Bangladesh Under-19 coach Richard McInnes and a senior cricketer at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

It was learnt that the Australian coach, who has been supervising training in the absence of Dav Whatmore who returns today following a break in Australia, was locked in a heated exchange with former Bangladesh captain Khaled Mashud in the dressing room.

According to sources, McInnes had asked at the beginning of yesterday's practice whether they were interested to train at the camp or join the practice of their respective clubs of the Dhaka Premier league. 14 out of the 21 players in the preliminary squad who had matches today, took the second option.

This reportedly infuriated the 30-year-old Australian who told them to leave the ground. McInnes later found Mashud taking a message in the dressing room and the two ended up having a fight as the coach wanted explanation on why the wicketkeeper hadn't already left.

Chief selector Faruque Ahmed visited the BNS and discussed the incident with Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar and McInnes. When asked, Faruque however expressed his ignorance about anything untoward taking place. But Bangladesh Cricket Board's advisor and chairman of the media committee Reazuddin Al-Mamun admitted the confrontation.

"I have heard about it. I think it was a misunderstanding between McInnes and a player. We can only elaborate after knowing all the facts," said Mamun.

Mamun said the board was considering releasing players from the national camp before their premier division games to avoid confusion.

"We are committed to our respective clubs also. But we are not even allowed to play the practice matches of the clubs which we feel are more important than the relentless physical training at the national camp," said a Bangladesh cricketer criticising what many say is 'over-emphasis' on fitness training in the preliminary camp.

HE'S REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT IT: Young batsman Aftab Ahmed, who was a revelation as a bowler during the one-day series against New Zealand last month, sends down a delivery in the nets while Mushfiqur Rahman (L) looks on at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. PHOTO: STAR