Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two MPs tour West Indies to inspire Bangladesh cricket team

From New Age:
TWO members of the parliamentary committee on the youth and sports ministry are now in the Caribbean islands to, according to the committee’s chairman, who was quoted in a report front-paged in New Age on Monday, ‘congratulate the [national cricket] team on their historic Test series victory’ against the West Indies and ‘also inspire the players during the one-day series’.
The cheerleading mission, so to speak, of the two ruling Awami League lawmakers looks set to become a heavy drain on the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s coffers since, as the report adds, the board will pay for their business-class airfare and also provide each with $250 in daily allowance, at the request of the parliamentary committee. Ironically, the cricket board excluded the media manager from the touring party for the series against the West Indies as an austerity measure.

The reason that the parliamentary committee’s chairman has come up with for the lawmakers’ tour of the Caribbean islands is tenuous, to say the least; after all, had they been so keen to ‘congratulate’ and ‘inspire’ the cricketers, they could well have done so over telephone or via email or any other means of electronic communication available in this era of greater interconnectivity. Also, it is highly unlikely that the visit by two lawmakers, that too at the cost of several thousand US dollars, would translate into any tangible gains for the overall development of cricket in Bangladesh.

The money would surely have been better spent on, for example, organisation of a school-level cricket tournament or even procurement of cricket gears for distribution among schools. The obvious question, then, is why the cricket board has undertaken such a reasonably expensive venture that promises little very little returns, if not none at all, that too when it itself is on a cost-cutting mission. The answer may not be too difficult to assume. The cricket board apparently did not want to cross the parliamentary committee by turning down its request; after all, the committee does have the power to make its life miserable.

Simply put, by making such a request in the first place, the committee may have abused its authority. It is ironical that when the ruling Awami League has seemingly made it its mission to identify instances of abuse of power, especially during the tenure of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance government and the military-controlled interim regime, and punish the perpetrators, some of its own lawmakers may be doing the same.

The government of Sheikh Hasina needs to realise that the people have elected it in the hope that it will remain true to its pre-election pledge for change and not re-enact the mistakes of the past. The government needs also to realise that it takes just a few errant individuals to bring an entire collective to disrepute. Hence, the parliamentarians in question should be called to account with regard to the request to the cricket board and made to bear the expenses of what appears nothing more than an expensive cheerleading mission.