Pioneer of Bangladesh cricket K Z Islam dies
DHAKA, —Former Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Kamal Ziaul Islam, popularly known as K Z Islam, who is considered as the person to spread the cricket to the grassroots level, died here on Monday. He was 86.
K Z Islam introduced Bangladesh’s first school-cricket competition through which most of the cricketers, who later represented the national team, were produced.
K Z Islam, the former real estate magnet funded the tournament through his company Nirman International Ltd and gave the name of the tournament ‘Nirman School Cricket Tournament.’
Some of the country’s top-class cricketers like Habibul Bashar Sumon, Khaled Mahmud Sujon and Javed Omar Belim Gullu emerged from the tournament’s first batch.
The tournament, which he was brainchild in 1982, played a key role in spreading the cricket to the grassroots level. In fact all the start cricketers of 1990s were a product of Nirman and in doing so, Islam established him as the pioneer of the country’s cricket.
He also established the Nirman XI cricket team in the Dhaka league, which was promoted up to the List A Dhaka Premier League in the early 1990s. At one time, he hired Northamptonshire’s Alan Fordham as player-coach of the Nirman side, and even arranged a private England tour for the team’s young players.
Khaled Mahmud Sujon, former Bangladesh captain and currently a board director was the captain of Nirman XI in that England’s tour. Players like Habibul Bashar Sumon, Javed Oman, Anisur Rahman, Halim Shah and many others were the part of that squad.
“He was the person with unique vision and mission. During that time when cricket struggled to pave its own platform, he came up with huge sponsor and spread the game single-handedly to the grassroots level,” Bashar, the former Bangladesh skipper, said, recalling his memory.
“He helped many of us to have coaching under national coaches and also arranged tour for us in England. Country’s cricket should be grateful to what he did.”
K Z Islam, served as the Board’s President, then known as BCCB, from 30 January 1983 to 18 February 1987. BCB President Nazmul Hassan, MP has paid his tribute to K Z Islam.
“He was a pioneer and Bangladesh cricket will forever be grateful to him for his vision and belief. He patronised and encouraged age group cricket with the Nirman School tournament during a period when the game was far from being a professional sport,” he said.
“Because of resourceful personalities like him so many budding players could dream of becoming cricketers and cricket reached every corner of the country. On behalf of the Board I extend deepest condolences and sympathies to the family of K Z Islam,” he added.
As a mark of respect to the Late K Z Islam, the BCB flag will fly at half-mast today (Tuesday). After contributing and brought cricket to a certain height, he died after living much of the past two decades in relative obscurity.