A bowler conceded 92 runs off just four legal deliveries as one of cricket’s strangest scorecards emerged from Bangladesh’s domestic cricket this week. Sujon Mahmud, playing for Lalmatia Club in the Dhaka league’s third tier, gave away 65 wides and bowled 15 no-balls in an over that eventually lasted 84 balls. It meant Axiom Cricketers chased down their 92-run target in less than an over, in an innings that lasted 17 minutes, at the City Club ground in Dhaka on April 11.
Mahmud’s bowling, it later emerged, was a form of protest against what Lalmatia alleged to be biased umpiring during the game and throughout this season’s competition. Lalmatia were bowled out for 88.
“It started at the toss,” Adnan Ahmed, Lalmatia’s general secretary told Dhaka Tribune. “My captain was not allowed to see the coin and we were sent to bat first and as expected, the umpires’ decisions came against us. My players are young, aged around 17, 18 and 19. They could not tolerate the injustice and thus reacted by giving away 92 runs in four deliveries.”
This is not an isolated incident. Earlier this month, the daily New Age reported a scorecard from the same tier of the competition that was manipulated to reflect fewer lbw decisions during a relegation play-off match between Kathalbagan Green Crescent Club and North Bengal Cricket Academy at the Jahangirnagar University ground. According to screenshots from the BCB’s official scoring site, there were four lbws at 11.55am, six at 12.39pm, and five at 1.32pm in the game on April 4.
There have been several more complaints about poor umpiring in the Dhaka league system this season and in the last few years, including in the 2016 Dhaka Premier League which is Bangladesh’s main domestic tournament, given List A status.
Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM) chairman Gazi Golam Mortaza said on Tuesday that his proposal of letting CCDM appoint umpires to each league match wasn’t taken into consideration.
“The only solution is for the CCDM to take charge of the umpires during the league. I also proposed that we pick umpires through a lottery, which will take place in front of both team officials the day before their game,” Mortaza told the Bengali daily Prothom Alo. “But these proposals weren’t approved.
“We don’t get any response from the umpires committee despite repeated calls. We have also requested them several times but to no avail. They insist that appointing umpires is in their jurisdiction, but this is not going to solve anything. CCDM has to decide which umpires will stand for each match.”
The Dhaka league system consists of four tournaments, with the Premier League at the top, and the First, Second and Third Divisions below it. The top two teams in each division are promoted and the bottom two relegated.