By Lokendra Pratap Sahi
Calcutta (The Telegraph): The security assessment done in March, which formed the basis for Bangladesh deciding to make a short visit to Pakistan (a tour which has since been put on hold), hasn’t even been placed before its own cricket body!
Quite simply, the rank and file of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) haven’t been taken into confidence.
Not till Saturday evening, at least.
Confirmation came from two senior officials, who said that there had neither been a “select briefing” nor a “formal discussion” on the report prepared by a joint team of the home ministry, the sports ministry and the BCB.
Keeping such a document under wraps suggests everything isn’t at a hundred per cent.
Indeed, that was one of the stronger arguments advanced by lecturer Didarus Salam and lawyer Kamal Hossain, when they successfully moved the High Court division of the country’s Supreme Court for a stay on the trip planned for later this month.
Off is the April 29 ODI in Lahore and a T20 International a day later, in the same city.
Apparently, Salam and Hossain made the point that there was no transparency and, as concerned Bangladeshis, they had a right to move court against a tour which would be putting lives of fellow-Bangladeshis at risk.
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That no national team has toured Pakistan for over three years only made their case stronger and convinced the two judges hearing their writ petition to “suspend” the trip for four weeks.
Nobody wanted to go on record, but it seems that the BCB’s defence team was caught napping. As a well-placed source put it: “There were no answers to the many questions posed by the judges, particularly on the security assessment.”
The security assessment was done by a high-powered team, which included four key officials of the BCB, president Mustafa Kamal among them, and a top police officer who’d been involved with the 2011 World Cup.
It appears that the report is “mixed,” with positives and negatives. Lahore, where the Pakistan Cricket Board is headquartered (at the Gaddafi), got the “safer” label.
While the BCB has been given time by judges Farid Ahmed and Sheikh Hasan Arif to respond, cricket administrators in other countries are somewhat worried by the precedent set in Bangladesh.
Governments have been known to stop/put on the backburner cricket tours. But a court intervention is something new.
“I fear a Pandora’s box has been opened and this isn’t healthy. The BCB should have handled this far better,” emphasised an official, who has served in different capacities, in a chat with The Telegraph.
The heat is well and truly on the BCB.
By Lokendra Pratap Sahi