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The World Cup quarter final between India and Bangladesh played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was riddled with controversies. The Bangladeshis were on the receiving end of some umpiring blunders, which didn’t go down too well with the emerging Asian side. To aggravate matters further, Mustafa Kamal, the President of the ICC, was sidelined at the World Cup presentation ceremony and N. Srinivasan replaced him while distributing the awards. This exasperated Kamal, who handed over his resignation.
Speaking to Cricketnext in an interview, Kamal openly bashed Srinivasan and his alleged wrongdoings. The Bangladeshi also went on to allege that the World Cup quarter final was scripted by Srinivasan.
Speaking about Bangladesh’s recent series win over India, Kamal said:
Yes. This is a good victory. I should be feeling very good. Obviously, every Bangladeshi is feeling very proud. Bangladesh has come of age, although they are still in the learning process but they have definitely come to a stage from where they have now the capability of beating any team. This is my belief. You might have seen, out of the last four encounters, we beat England three times. We beat them in Bristol, then during the last World Cup in Bangladesh and this World Cup also we beat them in Australia. So that way we are ok now but still, as I said, we are in a learning process. We will have to go a long way. The good thing is we have a bigger supply line now. We have a number of young boys. they are coming up and joining the team. Initially we were depending on 5-6 players, now we have at least 20-25 players. So that is a good strength and good prospect for us, for further scope of advancement in the coming years.
Kamal then spoke about the role of the ICC in developing cricket in Bangladesh. He even mentioned the BCCI’s role:
ICC never directly helps any country for its cricketing development. Indirectly, they do. Indirectly, ICC encourages each member country, so that each member country participates and play each other. So, by playing against each other, they learn and they develop. So this is one area.
Secondly, by even FTPs, although FTPs are privately done, but even then it comes under the purview of ICC. So FTPs are helping each member country to move forward, and then there are ICC events. So there is scope of further advancement. These are the areas, these are the ways I feel ICC is helping the member countries to move their cricket forward.
But India and Bangladesh, they are very closely inter-linked and inter-woven as I would say. At the initial stages when we had just started playing cricket, India supported us in a big way compared to others. In fact, at that time, to my knowledge, other countries were not very pro to support Bangladesh getting its test status. So, India helped us. As a country, because of our relations – economically, politically and also social – we have very strong bondage between India and Bangladesh. So that is why, that bondage is also helping. Cricket is also coming up as a component that will strengthen the ties between the two countries. So that way India is helping Bangladesh. India and Bangladesh, it is my belief, both of them will benefit by a long-term perspective. It is cricket, it is social areas, it is business, it is economic development, whatever way we feel like, whatever way we call it, it is bound to come up for both the countries because of our long relationship. Right from our independence until now, we are helping each other; and India, since it is a bigger country, it has a bigger responsibility to support us and to see our growth and to see that we also grow with them. If they grow alone, leaving us behind, that growth also is not sustainable. It is vulnerable. So that is why India has to grow and take Bangladesh along with them in their growth path so that growth becomes more meaningful and more sustained.
Kamal then opened up about the World Cup quarter final controversy. He also mentioned the issues he had with N. Srinivasan:
See in the World Cup final, there was no controversy. At the presentation ceremony, Mr. Srini was there. He thought that everybody would appreciate that but none appreciated. So I warned him not to do that because everybody who follows cricket knows that it’s the ICC president’s prerogative [to do the honors at the World Cup final presentation ceremony]. Every time it has been done like that, so now when they [general public/ experts] will see something is coming up differently, in that case they will not accept it gracefully. So they were opposing it and they expressed their sentiments.
That is his bad luck and he has defamed himself and he has defamed this grand game of cricket and the institution itself. So I think it was not a good way or a good gesture of a human being. It should not have been like that. I could do many things. I could go to the ground. I could give the trophy because I was the president and I knew my obligations. I could make an objection there. But I didn’t want to go that way. I said, “Okay, fine, fair enough”.
Srinivasan has lots of cases pending against him and there are corruption allegations against him. Don’t you think ICC should have thought that the game shouldn’t be maligned?
Now I am no more with ICC. I have done a good thing. While I was with the ICC, I raised my voice and I opposed his wrongdoings. Since I could not accept his wrongdoings, I had no other choice. [Then] I had no options left other than to resign from the president’s post. So now, I don’t want to talk anything about it. I left the entire issue to the world cricketing body, to their valued judgement, to their conscious.
People who are disputed, have disrespected their own country, disrespected in their own association, they have no right, no moral standing to be incharge of this type of mega institution where the entire world is involved. This was my view point. I am very clear on my thought and I am very clear on my views. A man should be clean. There are cases against his own family members, there are cases against him. It is a case of moral turpitude. A man with many negatives, he cannot be around the post of chairmanship or presidentship of a mega institution like the International Cricket Council.
The BCCI administration has changed. Jagmohan Dalmiya has again made a comeback. Since Jagmohan Dalmiya is there now, do you think things are going to improve in the BCCI administration, especially relations with the Bangladesh Cricket Board?
The relations between the BCCI and Bangladesh Cricket Board are very good and very strong. We are continuously communicating. Mr. Dalmiya, of course, likes cricket like anything and he has helped our cricket. I am sure it must be in his mind that Bangladesh team is doing very good. At that time he fought everyone and he supported Bangladesh. He said during his tenure as ICC president, “Give them [Test] status, they will perform.” And see, Bangladesh is performing. So that ways, it is good. My relationship with him is very good. Bangladesh cricket’s relation with him is very good. Bangladesh cricket’s relation is extremely good with Indian cricket administration. I have been receiving letters from Mr Dalmiya. Even day before yesterday, I received a letter from him. Our relations are good. He wishes us good and I wish Indian cricket good. I always want that Indian and Bangladesh cricket should do well jointly and let us become more prosperous and go forward in a befitting manner.
When asked about whether beating India was a new beginning for cricket in Bangladesh, Kamal said:
There is no beginning for Bangladesh cricket. Bangladesh cricket is slowly and gradually moving forward. Bangladesh cricket management was there, set-up was there, structurally the game was there. The IPL has come up in India now. No one from outside played [domestic cricket] in India. Now they have IPL. We had BPL long back. Even Raman Lamba played in Bangladesh, he died here. For Bangladesh, we have been pursuing cricket for a long, long time. We had world class and iconic players from different parts of the world in cricket playing here in domestic circuit even before we got the Test status. Richard Illingworth, Shahid Afridi, Ashoka De Silva, Shoaib Malik, Wasim Akram and also Ajay Jadeja, all these players have played in Bangladesh. So what does that mean? It was a mecca, I should say. People from different places coming here to play cricket. Now, we have the Test status. But, India, in comparison to Bangladesh, are much ahead because they have been playing cricket for 100-150 years. Bangladesh have been playing [international] cricket since 15 years. We have to go a long way.
Kamal also dismissed the theory that the series victory over India was like a “revenge” for the quarter final. Nevertheless, he once again opened up about the controversial quarter final:
There is nothing like that. It was temporary because it was a misunderstanding. Once I said I am resigning just after the quarter-final, everybody in Bangladesh was really annoyed with me. They didn’t support my views. Some of them thought I was saying something against India. But I never raised any issue against India. Indian players didn’t know what was happening, they didn’t know the fate of the game [in regards to fair play]. My point was there was no fair play. It was the decision of the ICC. Who runs ICC? It is the president or the chairman. Since I didn’t do anything wrong, then who did the wrong? It is the chairman. Obviously, it goes against him. Why on that day the spider camera was not there? Why on that day technology was not used? Why on that day the giant screen wasn’t used? Why? It was an ICC event. I was also a part of ICC. How could they say like that? How can they say that in that match Bangladesh is losing and India is winning. In the next match, India were facing Australia. Why did they show that on the giant screen? Why didn’t they say “Jeetega Jeetega India jeetega, Australia haarega”. Could you say like that? So why against Bangladesh? And I was representing Bangladesh. I was there to look after the interest of cricket and that day if it would have happened against Zimbabwe, I would have still definitely raised my voice. Because I saw it and it was injustice. You tell me, is there any match played in Melbourne without a camera? Any match, name one, in the World Cup, was played [like that] between any countries, other than that match? Why? Why it was targeted like that? Who has targeted it? Because the man who is doing all these things in India, he is the man who could do all these in Melbourne.