International cricket stars threatened on Thursday to quit the Bangladesh Premier League as the troubled Twenty20 tournament was hit by a fresh dispute over pay.
The second edition of the BPL has already been deprived of any Pakistani players after they were prevented by their national board from taking part on the eve of the tournament.
Now players from five of the BPL’s seven teams could walk away in the middle of the competition unless they receive the salaries that they were promised, according to officials and their representatives.
The owner of the Dhaka Gladiators, which won last year’s inaugural tournament, confirmed that ex-England player Owais Shah was among the players who are threatening to pull out of the competition.
“Shah and some other players have threatened to pull out if they are not paid their due fees immediately,” Salim Chowdhury told AFP.
The inaugural tournament last year was also marred by complaints from players who said teams failed to pay out their full dues or on time.
To avoid a repeat scenario, new rules were set up to make it mandatory for the teams to deposit 25 per cent of their players’ fees with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) which would then hand over the cash.
Chowdhury blamed the board for the non-payment, insisting that his outfit had transferred the money.
But BCB spokesman Jalal Yunus said only two teams including the Gladiators had so far fulfilled their commitment to deposit money with the board, adding that he hoped payments would come through in the next few days.
“We hope we’ll receive all payments by Saturday,” he told AFP.
The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) said “many” players remained unpaid and their patience has worn thin.
“The players are very seriously considering some sort of boycott simply because there is little else they can do,” FICA chief executive Tim May told ESPNcricinfo.
While only Shah has gone public about not receiving cash, the five teams which the BCB says have not paid up have a host of internationals on their books such as the Australian Simon Katich and West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
The inaugural edition was also hit by allegations of spot fixing, resulting in the suspension of an ex-Bangladesh cricketer and arrest of a Pakistani national.