'Everything seems to be in place at BPL' - Owais Shah
Owais Shah has appeared in 11 Twenty20 line-ups over the past decade; this experience gives him the right to judge which tournaments can be categorised as good, and which are sub-standard. After his successful Bangladesh Premier League debut for the Dhaka Gladiators, Shah said it is too early to judge just where this Twenty20 league stands, though he felt comfortable playing for his new team.
"There is a lot of stuff [that counts]. Like organisation, the way the grounds are maintained, the facilities provided for the players to practice, and also how the entire tournament progresses over the four or five weeks," Shah said. "I think everything seems to be in place here. It is organised and it seems good, so hopefully that will go on for the whole month."
Shah has had stints with Cape Cobras, Delhi Daredevils, Essex, Hobart Hurricanes, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Kolkata Knight Riders, Middlesex, Rajasthan Royals, Wellington and, now, Dhaka Gladiators, which have given him an understanding of bowling attacks, pitches and the general pace of Twenty20 cricket. The pressure to perform for a franchise was different to that which comes when playing for your country, he said: "There is pressure on me to perform because the financial rewards are good. When you make the decision to play in T20 leagues around the world, you need to perform."
The Bangladesh Cricket Board has announced that the players will be paid 25% of their fees before the tournament, 25% during the tournament and the rest within 150 days of the tournament ending. Given his experience, despite the BPL's previous financial issues, Shah can expect to be paid on time
"We were told by the Professional Cricketers' Association in England that there have been problems with payments, but this year the way the tournament has been structured, we should be getting paid by the board in the next day or so," he said. "We have put our trust in the Bangladesh Cricket Board and they shouldn't let us down."
Shah's next assignment will be the T20 Domestic Challenge in South Africa, where he will play for Cape Cobras. "I am supposed to go to Cape Town to play in their T20 tournament [from February 17]. So I had a month with no cricket on and when this opportunity came, I was excited to be a part of the Dhaka Gladiators."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent