The players remain tight-lipped about what they discussed during Wednesday's meeting at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. It is however no secret that the agenda of that meeting, where a significant number of cricketers were present, was the concern about the lack of a real platform that can address their problems properly to the board. The sudden move of the players basically brought the non-functioning existence of the Cricketers' Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB) to the fore.
Although the players did not make any noise about their meeting, yesterday Khaled Mahmud's public reaction made the situation clear. The former national captain turned BCB director Mahmud, who also holds the post of vice-president of CWAB besides his numerous other roles, opined that the meeting could have taken place following the players' discontent over the players-by-choice system for the Dhaka Premier League.
While he was talking to the media, Mahmud not only defended the players-by-choice system but also gave enough evidence about which side of the fence he currently stands. It looked like a club official talking in favour of his club when he said: “I think there has been much talking because of the players-by-choice system. But the board has logic behind the system. I think players get the maximum considering the amount in BPL [Bangladesh Premier League]. BPL franchises recover their investments from sponsorship deals, but that is not case for the clubs. Still, the clubs are spending Tk 4-5 crore, which is big in a Bangladeshi context. Players should think about that.”
Mahmud also said that the players' move will send a wrong message and they cannot achieve anything by 'fighting' and instead have to negotiate and at one point he also said: “Players are getting much benefit because of us [the former players including Mahmud, Naimur Rahman, Jalal Yunus, Mahbub Anam and Akram Khan] and they will not get anything if we are not here.”
Although Mahmud claimed that their major responsibility is to uphold the interests of the players, his overall observation regarding the initiative taken by the players only serves to highlight that Mahmud can in no way be the true voice of the players when it comes to performing that major responsibility. Instead, it only showed that when one is part of the establishment like Mahmud is, one cannot be a true representative of the players. It is precisely for this reason that the players' congregation on Wednesday was justified as they need to create a platform from where they can raise their voices and negotiate with the authority to ensure their best interest.
“Our duty is to get out the best possible solution through discussion, their [players] interest, board's interest and club interest, we must ensure those because it's like a tri-partite agreement,” said Mahmud.
By that time, it was clear in which capacity he was speaking.