In October 2013, Nazmul Hasan became the first elected president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board. In a free-wheeling chat, he talks on ICC’s new revenue model, BCB’s relationship with the BCCI , and how he cracked down on the indiscipline in the team.
The Indian cricket board has been opposing the new revenue-sharing model (rollback of Big Three) as their share would be cut down. The original plan had Bangladesh not getting much money. What’s your take on it?
BCCI cannot say, ‘yes take our money’. At the same time, Bangladesh cannot say ‘we don’t want to take the money’. It’s big money for us. It’s more than Rs 400 crore. They are issues we need to discuss. I do feel that from the existing proportion of money, we are getting very less. It’s insignificant. You see previously the government used to finance us. After the new ICC constitution, which says no governmental interference, we have to do everything on our own. When you don’t have funds, how can we run the game? Someone has to look at it. Even India can look into it, I am not saying only ICC needs to do it. Someone has to find a formula where small or weak countries who don’t have sufficient funds can survive.
Moving on to Bangladesh cricket, you have been instrumental in instilling discipline in Bangladesh cricket — be it the way you handled Shakib Al Hasan.
To be very frank, it wasn’t just Shakib. There were others who were a bit indisciplined. Even in the BPL last year, we fined Sabbir Rahman Rs 33 lakh. We are strict on that. I speak to all the players. I talk directly to them and give them a chance to explain.
As for Shakib, it was bad luck because he was the first one (to have a discipline issue after Hasan took over). After we cautioned Shakib, I have found the others have become better and serious. Nobody in Bangladesh cricket thought you can do anything to Shakib. And when the action was taken, others became serious. What I found is that we have talent but there are certain (disciplinary) issues that we don’t see in an professional organisation. So, I thought I should bring in professionalism first. Discipline is important. Also accountability and transparency in the board (is important). I wanted to give the team best possible facilities .
Another thing is that I wanted to bring in new players to foster competition. As soon as I became the president, we brought in youngsters like Mehedi Hassan, Mustafizur Rahman, Sabbir, Taskin, Taijul, Alamin and Kamirul Rabbi. The idea was to bring in more competition. We have been playing with the same team for some time now. The effort was to improve domestic cricket— things are moving but we have a long way to go.
You sent Shakib to the Big Bash in 2015 after not allowing him to the Caribbean Premier league in 2014?
Because he has changed a lot and has shown remarkable improvement. When you are well entrenched in the team, then it can lead to complacency and indiscipline? Did you look it that way? Let me put it this way — competition is always good. Take India for example. Even their A team is strong, and there are so many players waiting in the pipeline. Someone like Rayudu is on the bench — they have ready replacements. That’s what I wanted to do. We don’t have so many but that’s where we want to be.
There have been murmurs about the captaincy of Mushfiqur Rahim. As a president, what’s your take on it?
That’s difficult to say right now as the series is going on. We will see. We are looking at everything.
What’s your view on the new Test championship proposed by the ICC. It will be beneficial to Bangladesh as every team will have to play everyone else?
We have not been playing enough Test cricket. If we don’t play Test cricket, how can we improve? The big plus point for Bangladesh is that they (ICC) have now advocated a 9-3 split. This means we would get a chance to play against all the others, and this will help us improve. Our main issue is the temperament and the attitude you require in Tests. They all go for the big shots because they are habituated at playing them in ODIs and T20s. So I am sure this will help.