File image of Shakib Al Hasan.© AFP
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan on Thursday cancelled an endorsement deal with a betting site hours after the Bangladesh Cricket Board issued an ultimatum to him to either ditch it or face the axe by the national team. “Shakib gave a letter to us saying that he was terminating his contract with Betwinner news and removing all posts from his social media pages regarding the deal,” BCB cricket operations chief Jalal Yunus told AFP. Shakib last week announced a partnership with Betwinner news, a portal operated by the gambling firm based on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao.
He wrote on his social media pages that it was the “one and only source of sports news!”
All forms of gambling are illegal in Bangladesh — although it is rampant during cricket matches when underground punters exploit a brief delay between live play and official broadcasts — and cricket administrators were quick to seek an explanation from the player.
BCB president Nazmul Hassan on Thursday said they had asked Shakib to choose between the national team and Betwinner and the issue was non-negotiable.
“There is no question of second thoughts,” he told reporters. “He has to come out of this, otherwise, he will not be in the squad,” Nazmul said in Dhaka.
Shakib had been widely expected to take over the Bangladesh Twenty20 side as captain for the upcoming Asia Cup in the UAE and lead the side to the next Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in October and November. But the captaincy was not even a subject for discussion unless he cancelled the Betwinner deal, Nazmul added.
“He won’t even be in the team. There is no scope for negotiation. We are clear about this,” he said. The announcement of the Asia Cup squad has been delayed for a day pending Shakib’s decision, he added.
The International Cricket Council banned the all-rounder for two years — one of them suspended — in 2019 after he failed to record corrupt approaches. Bangladesh reappointed Shakib as Test captain in June following the resignation of Mominul Haque.
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