Bangladesh Premier League 2012 February 23, 2012

Pink caps for safe hands, and the Tamim-Jones clash

We look back at the highs and lows from the second week of the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League

A slightly better, catching week
As a way to motivate the fielders to put their hands together after numerous dropped catches in the first week, the organisers have introduced a pink cap for the man with the most catches. Mohammad Ashraful is the proud beneficiary as of this week, though it could easily go to Anamul Haque (for the most athletic), Kevon Cooper (most entertaining) or Kamran Akmal (for not missing many).

Anamul, the young Dhaka Gladiators wicketkeeper, threw himself to his right to haul down a thick Peter Trego edge on Wednesday. In the same game, Kamran effected two well-timed stumpings and kept things quiet behind the wicket, mostly.

But Cooper took the cake. After clinging on to a skier in Chittagong Kings' game against Khulna Royal Bengals on Monday, Cooper did a juggle and roll-down his back to end the Khulna innings. As the ball rolled towards the boundary line at long-on, he realised that Dwayne Bravo had delivered a no-ball. A scurry back and a wild throw was what Cooper managed.

Introducing, Mominul Haque
After Junaid Siddique's unbeaten 89 against Barisal Burners, comparisons to his blazing 134* in a club Twenty20 game six years ago were inevitable. The century launched him to the national team, though his form deserted him with each passing year at the top, eventually putting him out of contention. Now, the innings for Duronto Rajshahi (after some runs in first-class cricket) could strengthen his case for the upcoming Asia Cup.

Another left-hander on the rise is Barisal's Mominul Haque. He hit an unbeaten 53 that led to an unlikely win over Khulna Royal Bengals at the end of this week. The 20-year-old from Cox's Bazar is already penciled down by many as a future middle-order star and his composure in the demanding chase stood out. The scoop shot to fine leg to end the game showed cheek under pressure.

Tamim Iqbal vs Dean Jones
It was a car crash waiting to happen, but to put a positive spin on the issue, it was still laudable for the Chittagong Kings to stock up on cricketing heads, rather than spending it all on the marketing machine.

Still, a technical director for a 20-day tournament was a bridge too far and the inevitable clash of egos took place. Tamim Iqbal, the Kings' icon player, sat out four matches after his opening-day appearance due to a groin injury. But rumours were abounding that it was a tiff with the management that kept him out. It couldn't go on for too long and when Tamim was sidelined last minute in their first home game, the local boy broke down.

It was the recurring groin problem, but strong claims of a second quarrel with Jones surfaced quickly. Apparently the former Australia batsman wanted the opener to bat at No 3. Tamim sat out; Jones was fined Tk 15,000 for wrongly entering the ground during a strategic time-out. The Kings lost. So when Tamim played the next game and Jones left for India, the equation became easy though the Kings have insisted that it was always short-term.

County force
The Pakistanis and West Indians might still be winning all the awards but another brigade has also cut a niche for itself. Several English county cricketers are now the third force in the BPL, as the local players continued to disappoint.

Darren Stevens, 35, a complete unknown in this part of the world, has been the dependable finisher for the Dhaka Gladiators. Jason Roy, fourteen years junior to Stevens, has done the same job for the Chittagong Kings, with more runs to his name. Among the English lot, Trego has quietly accumulated the most runs, while Phil Mustard has had some impact at No. 3 for Barisal Burners.

Kabir Ali has run in hard for Barisal while Irishman Niall O'Brien has been chirpy behind the stumps for the Khulna Royal Bengals in a few games. By taking place a month before the start of the county season, the BPL could interest more cricketers in England, if it runs the distance.

Little return in investment
With the budgets considerably smaller in the BPL, a foreign player bought for a six-figure salary was considered as a moderately expensive pick at the auction. With the tournament into its second week, some of these moderately expensive players haven't exactly delivered. The biggest disappointment has been Dwayne Bravo, who was acquired by Chittagong Kings for $150,000. Given his age and skills, Bravo hasn't provided the much-needed balance to the line-up with only 95 runs from five innings and an economy rate of 8.92 with the ball. Pakistan seamers Sohail Tanvir, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Yasir Arafat are Twenty20 commodities but Naved and Arafat have been expensive while Tanvir's six wickets haven't been enough for the slaughtered Sylhet Royals.

Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya and Herschelle Gibbs can only be described as emotional picks, with the world record-holder Murali admitting earlier this week that he wasn't even prepared to play the tournament.

There are however several local disappointments, beginning with Nasir Hossain. The $200,000 man has not been the impact player while the likes of Jahurul Islam, Naeem Islam and Shuvagata Hom have also had very little to cheer about.

Edited by Kanishkaa Balachandran

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shahid on February 26, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    There is a common mistake in every ones comments and articles about BPL. They compare it to IPL which should not be done if you see in to the market size and money involved in IPL. BPL has have a good start but they must learn to keep the salaries down to the acceptable. Top world players should be paid no more than 200.000 and second ranked international players like those who are currently involved (except Gayel and Afridi) should be kept to 100.000. Local players are not worth more than 50-80t. Bagla players didn't score many runs but I am sure a couple of years in to BPL, you will see many local faces doing the job.

  • sunil on February 26, 2012, 1:07 GMT

    the biggest surprise for me is chanderpaul...number 6 with most runs!!

  • Muhammad Rakibul on February 25, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    I was amazed to see such a blazing innings 4m Junaid. Though Caribbeans & Pakistanis excelled here so far but Siddique's innings was best after Gayle's tons. Rise of young Mominul is another positive sign of Bangladesh cricket. But BPL hasn't proved successful to improve BD batters capability as most of them hasn't progressed much with time. It's only local Bowlers (or Spinners ?) who r benefited 4m BPL.

  • Kuka on February 24, 2012, 2:19 GMT

    I think Bangladesh has raw talent. They should have a pace academy to produce quality fast bowlers. Their spinners and batsman are shinning. In organizing this event they have shown creativity and resources. I saw few close games and I believe the passion for sport is there in Bangladesh. I even liked the tv coverage which is better than IPL. Way to go Banglafolks

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2012, 2:11 GMT

    I must admit i agree with this article. This tournament has been really poor and it clearly show Bangladesh cricket has a very long way to come. It really needs to look at fielding and batting. The Bangladesh players have had a really low impact in this tournament, there has been the rare spark but that it just a spark.

  • TMoney on February 24, 2012, 1:23 GMT

    a bit harsh on Nasir Hossain dont you think Mohammad Isam??? I would rate Nasir as fairly consistent throughout the competition considering his position in the batting line up. There were demands of live commentary for BPL on cricinfo but it is dissapointing on how neglegent CRICINFO is. There are lots of stars playing in the BPL...

  • M A on February 23, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    local players are starring with the ball consistently.

  • Md. Saqif on February 23, 2012, 17:17 GMT

    The person who has written definitely anti BPL and do not want Bangladesh cricket to ahead. You guys do not give LIVE commetary during BPL matches after so many viewer asked for seemed that whole CRICINFO team is not liking the success of BPL. If you have so much complains against BPL....why dont you guys write about the MOST controversal league IPL. You guys have nothing to say about let BPL do their job & you guy do yours

  • Ashiq on February 23, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    I have been following this Tamim-Jones issue for a while, and if you look at some news reports closely, it is rather obvious that this is all speculative. Both the officials and D. Jones denied this, as well as Tamim himself provided reasonable explanations why he did not risk playing these games. Perhaps, it wasn't necessary to further speculate this issue on cricinfo. Misleading rumors like this can only harm the players and their families. I think we all should consider this before writting something negative about them.

  • Dummy4 on February 23, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    this reporter has a point in many of these cases but like Palash said we have a lot of successful players also. however this and the ipl are to see who might be good enough to train for the world t20 cup and the asia cup

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