Like the whole world, Bangladesh has also been affected by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Five have died of the disease already with 39 affected overall.
In such conditions, 27 players of Bangladesh national cricket team have come forward to fight the battle against the pandemic. The players were already raising their awareness through social media but now will do a notch better as they are preparing to form a fund to fight the epidemic. These 27 players will donate half of their one month's salary to that fund.
Among those 27 cricketers, 17 are under the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) contract. And according to BCB's rules, players not under contracts receive that month's salary if they are called up to play. For example, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza is not in the central contract but will receive his salary for the month for playing in Bangladesh's series against Zimbabwe.
One of the senior cricketers of the national side (unwilling to disclose his name) took this initiative and then informed Bangladesh ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal. Tamim then communicated the other players and they all came to the decision of donating half of their one month's salary.
Mashrafe praised Bangladesh skippers Mominul Haque, Tamim and Mahmudullah Riyad for taking such an initiative on his Facebook page.
Talking with The Business Standard (TBS) on this initiative, Mashrafe said, "The coronavirus situation has gone south. The number of patients is increasing, some have already died. In such a situation, if the fund formed by the cricketers help the coronavirus-infected people, the initiative will at least be a bit successful."
Some other players who are donating half of their one month's salary talked with TBS about the fund. Left-handed batsman Nazmul Hossain Shanto said, "We (the cricketers) took this initiative collectively considering the situation. If anyone comes forward after being inspired us, it will help the people affected by the coronavirus. That is why we took the initiative. Tamim bhai let me know and then we took the decision."
Young all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin told TBS that it was Tamim who informed him about the decision and then everyone agreed. Saifuddin said, "Tamim bhai first informed me about the initiative. Then Sabbir Khan bhai informed all of us in our Whatsapp group. He (Sabbir) said that we wanted to help the people affected by the coronavirus but it was not mandatory to participate. Anyone wants to help in such a situation and so we all agreed to the initiative."
Saifuddin also added, "If such a situation comes up in the future, we, the cricketers, will come forward again. Besides this, I had the plan of aiding the affected people in my native area on my own. I have already done a bit. But together through this initiative, the amount is bigger and it is better off to help the people."
National team seamer Abu Jayed Rahi said, "We will donate half of our salary from March or April to the government to help the coronavirus-infected people. It will be cut from our salary of this month or the next. Tamim bhai informed me first, then we all agreed to the initiative."
Taskin Ahmed, another seamer of Bangladesh national team, told TBS, "We are putting up a small initiative. There are many wealthy people in our country. The country is locked down, earning sources of many have been cut off. So we, the 27 cricketers collectively are trying to do our best. We are donating half of our salary here. This might provide a meal for some people."
Young off-spinner Nayeem Hasan told TBS, "We have collectively decided to donate a certain amount to help the coronavirus-affected people, many have contributed here. Tamim bhai informed me at first. Actually Mashrafe bhai, Mushfiq bhai took the decision of helping the endangered people. We agreed to their decision to donate half of our salary."
An estimated Tk 31 lacs will be donated by the cricketers. They are yet to decide whether they will provide the fund to the government or any other organization and a decision is expected soon.
Players donating to the fund: Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mominul Haque, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Jayed Rahi, Nayeem Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Ebadot Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Afif Hossain, Naim Sheikh, Al-Amin Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Mahedi Hasan, Hasan Mahmud, Saif Hassan, Yasir Ali Chowdhury, Nasum Ahmed, Aminul Islam Biplob