CWAB divided over Lutfar protest

The Cricketer Welfare Association of Bangladesh is divided into two camps over its position in the recent mudslinging war between the Bangladesh Cricket Board high-ups and banned Legends of Rupganj chairman Lutfar Rahman. Vice-president Khaled Mahmud came under fire from his fellow CWAB members for forcing the organisation to take a side in what is seen as his personal battle against Legends’ owner. CWAB was established in 2004 with a primary objective of promoting and protecting the general welfare of cricketers within the country, and it also engaged itself in numerous projects for the benefit of the wider community. According to some members, Mahmud did not follow any of its core principle while arranging a joint press conference along with Dhaka Premier League Club Association and Umpires and Scorers Association at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Monday. The press conference left many CWAB members confused as Mahmud joined club officials in criticising Lutfar using some of the words that were unbecoming with his image as a respected former national captain. CWAB’s long-standing president Naimur Rahman and its omnipresent general secretary Debabrata Paul were conspicuously absent during the press conference. Former national opener Hannan Sarkar, currently the batting coach of DPL side Abahani, read out its statement, though he is not even a member of CWAB’s executive committee. In normal circumstances CWAB’s general secretary Debabrata represents the body before the press, but speaking to New Age on Friday he insisted that he had no knowledge about it. ‘It was shocking,’ said Debabrata.

‘I was not informed earlier and only came to know about it from some cricketers present during the press-meet. ‘This kind of event cannot proceed without my proper knowledge as per the constitution. So, naturally it was both disturbing and alarming,’ said Debabrata. Debabrata said he wanted to inform the entire episode to their president Naimur but could not do so as by then he had left for Bangkok for a private trip. Mahmud, in the press conference claimed that Naimur was aware of the press conference and could not attend it because of his pre-scheduled trip. When his attention was drawn about it again on Friday, Mahmud re-iterated his claim. ‘I even read out the statement before him and he agreed,’ he said. Mahmud’s comment came a day after Naimur told a Bengali newspaper that he had no knowledge about the joint press-conference. ‘I was told that he will organise a press conference on behalf of CWAB. 

I thought our boys were going to speak, but had no knowledge that it would be a joint press conference,’ said Naimur. Iftekhar Ahmed, a member of the 13-member executive committee, also expressed his surprise about the use of some words in the official letterhead. He blamed Mahmud for bypassing the executive body before making a showdown under the banner of CWAB. ‘Until CWAB’s executive committee approve any such programme, no one can use our organisation’s name for such purpose,’ ‘What happened there [in the press conference] is regrettable as we had already conveyed our protest about the incident. ‘The only difference was that we had minimum decency while others seemed to have forgotten totally about it. ‘Cricket is a gentleman’s game and certainly everything that happened cannot be termed sober.’ The Bangladesh Cricket Board on Tuesday banned Legends owner Lutfar for his inflammatory remarks against its high-up including Mahmud after the game at the BKSP on December 4.

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