The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) is to advise England-qualified players against participating in this year’s Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) on security grounds.
While the organisation, effectively the players’ union, was happy to sanction the England tour of Bangladesh after the PCA chief executive, David Leatherdale, witnessed security arrangements at first hand, it does not anticipate the same level of protection at the BPL.
The PCA has advised players not to take part in the tournament before. Last year it asked players to sign an acknowledgment that they understood security arrangements were their own responsibility and that they went in spite of the PCA’s advice. In previous years it has warned of the unreliability of payments for playing in the league and expressed concerns over the anti-corruption arrangements.
Among the England-qualified players expected to take part in the BPL this year are Ravi Bopara, Tymal Mills, Riki Wessels, Samit Patel, Josh Cobb and Richard Gleeson.
It is understood that Jason Roy, who is centrally contracted by the ECB, and Kevin Pietersen are among those who declined offers to participate this year. Roy’s decision was not made on the instigation of the ECB but with the benefit of some advice from the PCA.
Any player taking part in the league will require a No Objection Certificate signed by their county and the ECB. It is far from certain they will be granted in all instances.
While the PCA believes that Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice has not changed since it warned players against participation in the BPL in 2015, the issue has gained more attention following a terrorist attack in Dhaka on July 1 that left 22 dead and in light of the England team’s decision to go ahead with their tour.
The FCO currently warns of a “heightened threat of further terrorist attacks” and states that Dhaka airport does not currently meet international security standards.
Advice on its website says: “Attacks could be indiscriminate although foreigners, in particular westerners, may be directly targeted. Crowded areas and places where westerners are known to gather may be at higher risk of attack. You should minimise your exposure to these areas, consider your movements carefully and take appropriate security precautions.”
The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) is also understood to have apprehensions over the tournament. It stresses it has not seen security arrangements for the BPL and insists that any playing taking part will do so “at their own risk”. It also notes that, while “security provided to international touring teams in Bangladesh relies heavily on government input from numerous agencies… It is unclear whether a similar level of security will be provided at this event.”