As things could not have been anticipated in a worse manner, Bangladesh's cricketing virtuoso Sakib Al Hasan has faced the strike of the cudgel of the cricket lords. The sole charge against Sakib is failing to disclose in time a number of approaches from a bookie, a process that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is largely dependent upon players concerned for cleaning the game. With the much-awaited India Test tour about to begin in a couple of days, and Bangladesh having a long list of matches to play in the next one year, nothing could be more dramatic and heart-rending than the taking out its best player right at that moment. Sakib is now practically ruled out for the whole of the next year's cricket including 36 international matches including three T20 World Cup matches, provided Bangladesh get into the final rounds. The CWC 2019 showed palpably clearly how Bangladesh depended on this prodigal player. Of the two-year ban, one is suspended being dependent on certain conditions. Taking that into consideration, he will now miss a total of at least 36 internationals, besides being effectively put out of the entire IPL and the BPL, the two competitions he like so many others largely depends on for livelihood. Making the calculations of total loss in terms of money, attendance and progress in cricket will be difficult to fathom. It is a disaster for the team and the person.
Crowd support for Sakib has come in enormously. Even international past masters have come out in support. Rahul Dravid of India has termed the sentence too harsh. In fact Sakib himself made a confession that his was a mistake. During these testing times, not only Sakib and other players require backing and support of the whole establishment, but also the BCB needs careful handling and leadership of the highest calibre and quality. None should be allowed to use the Sakib saga as a tool to settle old scores. Preceding Sakib, Bangladesh's best cricketer-batsman Mohammad Ashraful in fact participated in a fixing admittedly. Earlier administrators could not stop that. People making most noises now were in charge in the past. They should look at their own faces in the mirror.
It seems there is a great chasm between the Board, the coaches and the players. Every department of the game has a coach or an adviser. Doubts may be cast as to whether does the BCB have one to look after moral issues. Question may be asked as to how many hours are indeed spent to tell the players `do this'`, don't do that'. The abyss must be bridged and every level of entities must be kept under check and proper guidance. Not only the playing side, but the total governance has to be taken into serious control of to set things right. If the BCB requires a total overhaul of its working procedure, then let it be done. And without delay. This Board has done a lot of good work. It should not be allowed to end up in a soup. And then comes the call for the ICC. It must find out ways as to how to stop all these bookies from interaction with players and organisers. New systems must be devised. Let a simple telephone call not do the damage as has happened in Sakib's case. People love the game. The game must be saved from encroachers.
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