The engagement and enthusiasm of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hasan about the administration of cricket in this country, particularly his keen involvement with the national team, is apparently a commendable thing. However, the engagement of Mr Hasan, which may be commendable on one count, may very much be an epitome of an endemic problem in our culture. In his passion for the national team's success and his relentless engagement with the team, he at times makes public comments about the players of the national team, its coach, and management which would seriously undermine the professional management of BCB.
Mr Hasan often makes public comments about the selection of the national team which would seriously undermine the role and independence of the selection committee and management of the national team. He also makes candid remarks which do not fit with a very responsible and powerful office that he holds as the president of BCB. For instance, let us take his words about the recent sensational victory over Sri Lanka in Nidhas Trophy. Mr Hasan has been quoted in newspapers commenting on Sabbir Rahman's batting in the match saying, "He did not even try and dive to complete the run. Who told him to take a single at that moment? I have told him in front of everybody, 'You have not been sent to the middle to take single. Rather you were sent to hit [a] sixer. You should have tried to hit boundaries'." In some ways, he may have echoed the sentiments of many cricket fans of the country. However, one has to feel for poor Sabbir Rahman who is struggling of late as a batsman. It is difficult to see what has been achieved by this tough public criticism of Sabbir Rahman's batting.
This is not the first time that similar candid and passionate remarks worthy of a fan but unworthy of the stature of his office have been made by the BCB president. He has publicly commented on almost every aspect of the national team's selection and performance. Faruq Ahmed, a former chief selector of the national team, has even resigned from his post citing the lack of independence as a selector. The BCB president also has commented on the batting position of individual players or their playing styles - matters which would be thought to be internal issues of the team management. One would expect such comments from the team's management, not from the president of BCB.
Indeed, it is a rather serious indictment of the BCB that the man in its charge would have to fiddle in the micro-management of the national team and would candidly acknowledge that fiddling in public. This would demonstrate his lack of faith in the management of the national team - its captain, coach, and management. Of course, as a part of the national team, the management of the national team is also a part of BCB and are ultimately accountable to the president and Board of BCB. But that does not make the national team to be the subject of public comments or ridicule by the president of BCB. And for all his success in the administration of cricket in Bangladesh, his cricketing prowess is unknown. There is hardly any credential that Mr Hasan has been a cricketer or even a cricket commentator. As the president of BCB, he would rather be expected to manage the administration of cricket in Bangladesh and play his role in areas such as the development of cricketing infrastructure and the expansion of First Class Cricket. After all, the macro-management of cricket should be the agenda of BCB administration and not the internal management of the national team.
Some readers may question the credentials of this writer to comment on the cricket administration or cricket team's internal management. He, in fact, does not have any expertise in either of the fields. Well, this is what perhaps separates commentators from administrators. The authority of commentators and that of administrators are at a different gamut. Public commentators should and would often do their own research but may also make their personal views about issues in public life and contribute to public discourse. However, the job of administrators is not only much more powerful but also a restrained one. As administrators, they do not have the luxury of being candid or passionate in public. With their power, there is that added responsibility of being much more circumspect in their words and actions.
Dr Md. Rizwanul Islam is an Associate Professor at Department of Law, North South University. The views expressed are the author's own.