Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) handling of the A team has turned into a complete farce as barely eleven players left Dhaka last night to play today's first warm-up-match against the visiting England Lions at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong.
Believe it or not, even two hours before their scheduled departure the authorities concerned were not clear about how many players would turn to the airport to catch the flight.
Finally eleven players flew to Chittagong as Gazi Tank, the Premier Division Club, refused to release their two players Mominul Haque and Asif Ahmed who were in the 13-member squad announced earlier for today's lone practice match and the first three one-dayers. Gazi instead allowed only Rony Talukder to join the team. And in the end, Cricket Coaching School (CCS) lent a helping hand by giving two more players -- all-rounder Abul Bashar and left-arm spinner Avi -- who were scheduled to travel to Chittagong by bus at midnight. CCS's Tasamul Haque was already in the 11-man squad.
Left-arm spinner Elias Sunny was left out of the squad due to injury, but BCB failed to give a replacement for him although chief selector Akram Khan informed on Wednesday that Sohrawardi Shuvo, the left-arm spinner from Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, would replace Sunny.
It's now in no way a squad which was picked by the three-member selection panel. The selectors have been facing problems right from the beginning as some clubs were reluctant to release their players due to the ongoing Premier Cricket League and among them Abahani and Gazi Tank submitted written objections with the board.
It's become a complete joke the way the board dealt with the matter with the clubs, but BCB director and chairman of cricket operations Enayet Hossain Siraj however blamed the clubs for what happened about the formation of the A team.
"We don't expect something like this from the clubs. You know national duty must be the priority and the club representatives also agreed in a meeting in July last year that they would fully cooperate with us, but unfortunately one club was reluctant to release two selected players. It was only on their request that the board allowed them to register eight foreign players and field three in a match. Besides we also reduced the number of pool players to two, but still this unfortunate situation arose," said Siraj.
"This is really unfortunate and we are really in an uncomfortable situation. We must address this issue seriously in the next board meeting," said BCB CEO Manzur Ahmed.
It's not only about selection of the team, but questions were also raised about the selection of the team manager. Former cricketer Mozibul Haque remained as team manager for the home series against England Lions which raised many eyebrows. Many players who toured the West Indies with the A team have had their reservations about Mozibul.
"He is a gentleman but knows nothing about how to work," said a player who did not want to be named.
Siraj however defended Mozibul's appointment. "He [Mozibul] is a perfect gentleman. Yes he might have some limitations about communication, but I don't think there is any problem with his services."