BPL controversy over Bopara, Cobb NOCs
The presence of Ravi Bopara and Josh Cobb as Sylhet walked out led to Chittagong refusing to bat
The BPL descended into farce on the second day, when the Sylhet-Chittagong match was delayed by more than an hour because the Sylhet franchise did not have No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) for Ravi Bopara and Josh Cobb. When the NOCs did arrive after the toss, Chittagong refused to take the field since Bopara and Cobb were not included in Sylhet’s original playing XI.
Trouble started when the scheduled toss didn’t take place at 1.30pm as Chittagong Vikings captain Tamim Iqbal and match referee Raqibul Hasan stood near the pitch waiting for Sylhet Superstars captain Mushfiqur Rahim. Some of the BPL officials could be seen standing around the Sylhet dressing-room.
The BPL’s technical committee chairman, Jalal Yunus, told ESPNcricinfo at this point that the toss was delayed, “because the BPL wasn’t allowing Sylhet to take the field with two players since they didn’t have the prerequisite No-Objection Certificates”.
The toss took place with Sylhet deciding to field first and both captains went back in possession of each other’s playing XI on a sheet of paper. Neither Bopara nor Cobb was named in the Sylhet team, although the list did not have their captain and manager’s signatures at the bottom, while the Chittagong team sheet did.
The level of confusion then rose. As Tamim and Tillakaratne Dilshan were walking out to bat at 2.15pm – a delay of 15 minutes – they saw Cobb and Bopara walking out with the Sylhet players. Immediately the Chittagong openers returned to their dressing room, with BPL officials coming down to the field to take stock of the situation. There followed some heated exchanges among the BPL officials, Sylhet owners and Chittagong officials.
The crowd at Mirpur, around 2000 of them, started to get impatient and finally, at 2.55pm, nearly an hour after the scheduled start of play, the Sylhet players started to warm up with Cobb and Bopara sitting on the sidelines.
Tamim and Dilshan still appeared reluctant to head out of the dressing room and only after some more to-ing and fro-ing did they take the field. During this time, the Sylhet players had warmed up and taken their position and then got back together, warmed up a little more and returned to their fielding positions. The match eventually got underway at 3.08pm.