Belgium head coach Corey Rutgers and assistant coach David Mullet both quit their roles with the national side on the eve of the three-match T20I series against Austria, following a clash with board officials over team selection. The series, hosted in Brussels, got underway this Saturday morning with a 7-wicket win to Belgium.
Following a selection meeting on Tuesday evening chaired by BCF Chairman Umair Butt, a number of members of the squad that toured Malta two weeks ago were dropped over the objections of Rutgers, to make room for players preferred by the Board. Several further players were removed from the squad after voicing their objections to the calling-up of players who had not previously been involved in the national set-up. The interference in the selection process prompted the resignation of Rutgers, who has coached the side since September 2019, as well as that of his assistant coach David Mullet.
Rutgers most recently saw his side to a 3-2 win in a five match T20I series away against Malta, in their first series since the beginning of the global Covid pandemic. That series was itself marred by some controversy, with the result of the fourth match being reversed after five penalty runs were retrospectively imposed against Belgium owing to a level four disciplinary breach by captain Sherry Butt. Butt is understood to have remonstrated with the umpires during the innings break, leading to his eventual suspension.
As well as the suspended Butt, fully nine players from the squad that toured Malta were either dropped or were later removed or withdrew from the squad after objecting to the initial selection process. They include Hadisullah Tarakhel – Belgium’s top-scorer in the Malta series – together with Khalid Ahmadi, Sherul Mehta, Sazzad Hosen, Wahidullah Usmani, Ashiqullah Said, Nemish Mehta, Said Hakim and Syed Jamil.
Emerging Cricket has approached Rutgers and the BCF about the story. Rutgers declined to make a statement on the record, and the BCF has yet to respond to requests for comment.