Bangladesh Premier League 2012

Associate players eyeing BPL platform

Tariq Engineer and Mohammad Isam

February 1, 2012

Comments: 24 | Text size: A | A

Rizwan Cheema raises his bat after his blazing innings against England, Canada v England, World Cup 2011 Warm-up match, Fatullah, February 16, 2011
Rizwan Cheema: "You want to do well so the people can see you." © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Alexei Kervezee | Rizwan Cheema
Series/Tournaments: Bangladesh Premier League

The IPL has not been a fertile hunting ground for players from the Associate nations, with Netherlands allrounder Ryan ten Doeschate the sole owner of an IPL contract to this point. The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), however, stands to be a different proposition. A league rule required each of the six franchises to buy at least one player from an Associate country, a nod to Bangladesh's own history as an Associate.

The players who were snapped up at the player auction earlier this month were Alex Kervezee (Netherlands), Kyle Coetzer (Scotland), Rizwan Cheema (Canada), Niall O'Brien (Ireland), Hamid Hassan (Afghanistan) and Freddie Klocker (Denmark). For them, the league is an opportunity to showcase their talents alongside international stars and in front of packed stadiums.

"This is kind of the world stage," Cheema told ESPNcricinfo. "Playing with international players, all the top players from around the world, it is a big chance for the associate players to show their abilities."

Cheema hammered 93 off 71 balls against England in a practice match before the 2011 World Cup to become an instant star in Dhaka. He was bought by Duronto Rajshahi for US$25,000. Their coach, Khaled Mashud, said Cheema was captain Mushfiqur Rahim's choice. "He is a good all-round cricketer and though we had some options on the table, we went for him," Mashud said. Cheema will be playing alongside the likes of West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels, Pakistan allrounder Abdul Razzaq and South Africa legspinner Imran Tahir. He said the tournament will be a great way to get vital experience before the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers in March, where he will be Canada's vice-captain. "There is a lot to learn because there are so many people coming from all over the world."

The BPL is expected to draw big crowds for its first season and Cheema, who averages 30 at a strike rate of 121.38 from eight Twenty20 internationals, said that playing in front of a lot of people would be great motivation. "It gives you more energy and it really, really excites you. You want to do well when you see a lot of people around. It gives me more confidence."

At 22, Alexei Kervezee is the youngest of the Associate country players to be bought. Despite his relative youth, he has already played two World Cups and has played with Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan at Worcestershire. He was bought by Dhaka Gladiators for $35,000. "Kervezee is a stable middle-order batsman and a good team-mate," Shihab Chowdhury, one of the franchise's owners, said. "He was recommended by our coach Ian Pont, who was with the Dutch team a few years ago."

Among Kervezee's team-mates are West Indies allrounder Kieron Pollard, Pakistan offsinner Saeed Ajmal and former Australia legspinner Stuart MacGill, and he said he was looking forward to picking their brains. "Being team-mates with proven high quality players of the likes of Ajmal, MacGill and Pollard, people like that, I can take advantage of that to become a better player. I think it will help me become an overall better player in Twenty20 cricket."

Lurking in the background, is, of course, the possibility of an IPL contract should any of the players excel. "You want to do well so the people can see you," Cheema said. "If you do well, you might get a chance to play for the IPL."

Beyond the potential monetary rewards though, the BPL gives the Associate players a chance to hone their skills in a different part of the world. "That's the professional life," Cheema said. "Go and play in different countries and with different types of players. Makes you stronger mentally, and technically too."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Mayan_Mahbub on (February 4, 2012, 20:41 GMT)

The decision of BCB shows dat the heart of bangladesh is much bigger.... I just hope Bpl will bring glory to Bangladesh and slap on the face of the people who criticized Bpl...Best of luck....

Posted by   on (February 4, 2012, 17:41 GMT)

This decision of Bangladesh cricket board shows dat It has a big heart.... Great job BPL.....Great job Bangladesh!!! I am looking for a great show..... I hope it will slap on face of the people who have criticized bpl and Bangladesh cricket.....

Posted by reyme on (February 3, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

@ Sir_Freddie_Flintoff : ICL-->IPL-->BPL

BPL is shaping up to be a good tournament, right after IPL. I am sure Associate players will have a great show. Was looking forward to see Ryan Ten D. and Kevin O'Brien.

Posted by Sarfin on (February 3, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

You know what is the best outcome of BPL??? It proves, only big heart is required to show commitment. Go ahead Bangladesh and Associates. Play for passion.

Posted by   on (February 3, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

BPL will give more positives than IPL to the international cricket...bcoz BPL teams r going to be a blend of international players & associate players without any significant biasing...associate players will surely learn a lot from the international players...

Posted by   on (February 3, 2012, 4:53 GMT)

well done Bangladesh, would be great if the ICC and other full members could continue with this kind of goodwill to the associate countries.

Posted by Yolk_Eater on (February 2, 2012, 14:19 GMT)

What about Kevin O'brien? And those who are saying that Bangladesh is better than India and that India do not care for cricket, my sincere request to them is that please don't use the word INDIA. Its BCCI's fault, not India's.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

its good decision by bangladesh cricket board. i support it. associate country also have some good player.

Posted by realist1 on (February 2, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

Good luck to all the players from associate countries. Hope they get maximum chances to participate and show their skills at the top level. Congratulations to Bangladesh for including them. Unfortunately India will never respect the players from lesser countries no matter how good they are!! So I see very little chance for these players to participate in the IPL even if they excel in the BPL.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

On a personal note, Rizwan Cheema's reputation as a big hitter is a big overstatement. He only has the one shot - the swipe - and zero temperament. There are better and more effective batsmen in the Canadian squad itself, namely Hiral Patel and Ruvindu Gunasekera (who has had a good stint of domestic cricket in Sri Lanka recently). Having said that, Cheema will be well worth the bucks if he somehow manages to connect a few balls and gets in a zone.

Always appreciate pieces on the Associates - thank you Mohammad Isam and Tariq Engineer.

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