A (AFP) - Bangladesh cricket captain Mohammad Ashraful denied Wednesday that he was behind the mass exodus of top cricketers to a rebel Indian Twenty20 league.
At least 13 Bangladeshi players, including seven from the national team, have received ten-year bans for joining the unauthorised Indian Cricket League (ICL).
Ashraful said he had rejected an offer of 2.1 million dollars to play for three years in the ICL, which is bankrolled by India's largest listed media company.
"They said I was the kingpin behind all these (deals). But it's totally wrong," he said.
His comments came after several rebel players, including former national vice-captain Shariar Nafees Ahmed, claimed that Ashraful personally scouted for the ICL.
The exodus, which included former international captain Habibul Bashar, has severely depleted the Bangladesh team, forcing selectors to name six rookies among 24 probables for the home series next month against New Zealand.
Bashar, 36, has played in 50 of Bangladesh's 53 Tests. He is the country's most successful Test batsman with 3,026 runs.
Vice-captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza said the ICL offered him a contract worth 80 million rupees (1.74 million dollars) but rejected it.
Bangladesh have won just one Test, losing 47 and drawing five.
New Zealand, led by Daniel Vettori, arrive in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on October 4 to play three one-day internationals and two Tests.