|ICL Chairman Kapil Dev, centre, chats with Bangladeshi cricketers, from left, Alok Kapali, Shahriar Nafis, Dhiman Ghosh, and Habibul Basher who have joined the Dhaka Warriors [AFP]
Bangladesh will ban rebel players from playing for the country for 10 years if they participate in any unofficial tournament.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) made the announcement after 13 first-class players joined the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League.
Players including former Test skipper Habibul Basher and other Test stars have joined the newly formed Dhaka Warriors team that will compete in the ICL.
Basher hit back at the ruling on Wednesday, saying the punishment was fit only for "match fixers or drug abusers".
The ICL is a Twenty20 league that is not internationally recognised because it runs in competition to the officially sanctioned Indian Premier League.
"The decision will be equally effective for contracted players or coaches if they participate in any cricket event having no approval of the ICC (International Cricket Council) or the BCB," Major-General Sina Ibn Jamali, the board's president, said on Wednesday.
The ICL said the players were free to play for Bangladesh, leaving the BCB to decide the status of the players.
| Habibul Basher is leading the Dhaka Warriors [AFP]
Basher, who will lead the Dhaka Warriors, reacted furiously to the news.
"I never thought that the BCB would impose such a harsh punishment which fits only for match fixers or drug abusers," he said.
"We signed contracts with ICL to play cricket, not to indulge in any crime."
He added that the players' contracts bound the ICL to release them to represent their country.
Basher, his former deputy Shahriar Nafees, wicketkeeper Dhiman Ghosh and all-rounder Alok Kapali were presented at an ICL news conference in the Indian capital on Tuesday where Basher told reporters all-rounders Farhad Reza and Aftab Ahmed had also signed.
The team also includes recent international Mosharraf Hossain.
Coached by former India player Balwinder Sandhu, the side features four past Bangladesh players, retired left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique, pacemen Tapash Baishya, Manjurul Islam and Mohammad Sharif.
The others are Golam Mahbud, a reserve wicketkeeper after Ghosh and Mahbubul Karim, part of the Bangladesh Academy team currently touring Sri Lanka.
Devasted national side
The loss of so many top players would devastate the Bangladesh national team which already struggles to be competitive against top international sides.
The defection to the ICL shocked Bangladesh former cricket players who have urged the rebels to change their mind.
"What the rebel players have done is wrong," said Aminul Islam, a former
"They should place national interest ahead of their personal gains."
Rajiv Shukla, vice president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, said: "This is an issue between the Bangladesh Cricket Board and its players."
"It is for them to handle it."