Published: March 11, 2010
Rokibul Hasan, the Bangladesh batsman, has taken the shocking decision to retire from all forms of cricket. Rokibul’s snap decision was so unexpected, that even his own family members were shocked, along with the cricket fraternity of the country. His father and brother tried to persuade him to change his decision but to no avail.
Till the filing of this report at midnight, it was known that Rokibul was in Dhaka. The Daily Star made several attempts to contact him but it was fruitless as the batsman’s phone was switched off.
Bangladesh Cricket Board director Jalal Yunus confirmed that Rokibul submitted his resignation letter to team operations manager Shafiqul Haque Heera in Chittagong, who faxed it to the board office in Mirpur. Then he proceeded to board a flight to Dhaka from Chittagong.
The drama unfolded yesterday morning when the 22-year-old Rokibul refused to bat in the nets after travelling to the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium with the team. Then while returning to the hotel he stunned the Tigers in the team bus where he suddenly announced that he would retire from all forms of cricket and would ‘never play again’.
According to team sources, it shocked the entire squad who tried to talk reason into him. But Rokibul maintained his stance and also refused to elaborate.
The team sources confirmed a similar pattern of behaviour. Rokibul implied that he was willing to ‘teach them a lesson’ and it was a ‘revenge of sorts’ after he was unceremoniously axed from the national team for the England ODIs. The team management including the selectors were culprits in his eyes.
At the time, the board did not accept a team with Rokibul in it when the selectors named him in the 14-man squad for the ODIs. That had him cut out of the Tigers side and he was forced to play a practice game against England. He slammed an unbeaten 107 and a fifty to force his way back into the Test series and according to some close to him, he was positive in his talk.
As the drama unfolded in front of his teammates’ eyes, he informed chief selector Rafiqul Alam of his retirement. Rafiqul asked him the reasons of his decision but Rokibul said it was ‘personal’.
After informing the Tigers, Rokibul called up his Jamalpur home where he talked to his elder brother Shafiqul Islam to express his desire.
“He [Rokibul] called me and said that he has quit the national team and was going to Dhaka,” said Shafiqul when contacted over phone.
“He told us that he had informed the captain and the coach of his decision, but I requested him not to take such a reckless decision.
“We know that he is someone who always makes the right call but this [retirement] has shocked us all at home,” said Shafiqul, a service-holder in Jamalpur.
According to Shafiqul, his brother had recently expressed dissatisfaction with the way he was treated by the team management over the last two months. “After returning from New Zealand, he told me that he was just taken therebut made to sit out the Test matches,” said Shafiqul.
“He told me that he was in form but wasn’t scoring enough runs. ‘Maybe that was my only fault’ he said,” added Shafiqul.
There was another version in a leading website where it was claimed that a BCB insider said Rokibul had been ‘compromised’ as the board also rejected his name from the Test squad.
“The selectors were told by the board to drop Raqibul and Ashraful from the Test squad,” the BCB insider told the website. “The selectors refused to drop Raqibul after he scored a century and a fifty in the warm-up game at Chittagong and Raqibul has returned to Dhaka feeling that his position in the team is compromised.”
But Jalal Yunus, also the media committee chairman of the board, strongly denied any such claims. “We completely denounce this report. It was written with the reporter’s own assumptions about the incident,” he said.
“He [Rokibul] was very much in the side and there were no questions about it [his position in the Test team]. The notion that this team was also rejected by the board members is completely false and I would like the contributor to mention the name of the ‘BCB insider’,” added Yunus.