Bangladesh Premier League 2012-13 February 6, 2013

Local players lend edge to BPL

The high point of this season of the Bangladesh Premier League has been the performance of local players, especially the lesser known ones

The high point so far in this season of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) has been the performance of local players. The presence of some big international Twenty20 players notwithstanding, the spotlight has been on the hitherto lower-rated local cricketers who have performed well to shed the tags of 'longer-version' and 'shorter-version' specialists.

Batsmen like Shahriar Nafees (Khulna Royal Bengals), Nasir Hossain (Rangpur Riders) and Jahurul Islam (Duronto Rajshahi), and spinners Sohag Gazi (Sylhet Royals), Abdur Razzak (Rangpur Riders) and Enamul Haque jr (Chittagong Kings) have been the success stories of the first two weeks with their consistent performances throughout the tournament.

Even more prominent has been the success of uncapped batsmen and bowlers who were scoffed at for their lack of technique against quality pace bowling or, in the case of bowlers, a lack of imagination against technically sound batsmen. Their willingness to step up a level from domestic cricket was also questioned. This season, the performances of Shamsur Rahman (Rangpur Riders), Sabbir Rahman (Barisal Burners) and Nazmul Hossain Milon (Sylhet Royals) along with Rajshahi's left-arm spinners, Taijul Islam and Naeem Islam jnr, have made a strong case for local players.

Shamsur has been one of the nearly-men of Bangladesh cricket, often coming close to being selected for the national team. He has always batted in the top order, but hasn't got the results when it mattered. In this BPL, however, his performances are exactly what he has worked for in the last eight years. He has scored runs against good bowlers in important situations. Of the four half-centuries he has scored this year, two have been in victories for Rangpur and he is among the top run-scorers of the tournament.

"I have been doing well in this tournament, and there's no question about my hunger for more runs. I want to make at least six fifties," Shamsur told ESPNcricinfo a few hours before Rangpur were thrashed by Dhaka on Tuesday. Shamsur made just one run in the game and the team's fortune could well be traced back to his batting at No. 6 in this game. But he believes the tournament has given him a lift. "BPL has given my batting a boost. I am playing with and against some top cricketers and it has reflected in my performance," he said.

Like Shamsur, Sabbir and Milon have been vital for their teams. Both players have big-hitting roles and while the former has been promoted up the order regularly, Milon has been reserved for the slog overs. Sabbir is known mostly for his performance that pulled Bangladesh out of a tight jam against Afghanistan in the Asian Games gold medal match three years ago. Since that moment in the limelight, Sabbir has had few chances to perform. In Khulna, his thrill-a-minute 69 almost pulled off an improbable win against Riders. He has since done fleetingly well at No. 3 and a big score beckons. With the ability to bowl leg-spin and sharp fielding skills, Sabbir looks promising as a lower-order hitter for Bangladesh.

Milon isn't the best fielder and his wrong-footed medium pace has certainly seen better days. But he still has the ability to clear the rope and close out tight games. His contributions have played an important role in three of the Royals' six wins so far. He has a big reach and likes to play the ball down the ground, going after poor deliveries that fall in his half.

Taijul and Naeem have been the surprise packages. The pair were last-minute picks for Rajshahi after the Pakistan players pulled out of the tournament. The spin duo stepped up immediately, bringing their side a win against all odds in their first game. Despite lacking experience, the youngsters have often kept it tight and taken wickets frequently, even with the new ball. Both have a similar build and almost similar actions and, according to senior figures in the team, have shown plenty of heart in the last two years. Naeem has also had to overcome question marks over his bowling action during the Under-19 World Cup in Australia last year.

Of these five players, Taijul and Naeem have a long way to go, while Milon can hope to make it to the national Twenty20 squad. Shamsur and Sabbir too have a realistic chance of playing for Bangladesh in the near future.

Despite his bright chances, Shamsur doesn't want to think about selection, but also refuses to rule out the possibility: "So far, I am batting the only way I know, and it has been quite successful. I am not thinking about the national team but I know there are two tours just after the BPL, so it is natural to keep an eye on selection. But it is at the back of my mind for now."

This season's BPL was supposed to have a big question mark hanging over the quality of cricket played after the withdrawal of Pakistan players. The performances of the local cricketers, particularly of the unheralded ones, have given it legitimacy in the eyes of fans.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Zahirul on February 9, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    The only concern to me is some quality pace bowler, surprisingly no one new added to this year's list. However, our current bowlers are learning quickly from the foreigners, especially as Rubel bowled against Sylhet clearly inspired by Tait of his late bounce and pace while Nazmul bowled some good slower. Farhad Reza has been good too with his intelligent bowling. Yet we need to find 2/3 youngsters to compete with them.

  • State drive on February 8, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    I don't like one man Mr. Brad hodge captain Barisal Burners. Though He has good team he can not utilize our local player for his stupid, careless captaincy. He can'nt use Alok Kapali as a Batstman. All local players doing well in batting up the order. But Alok do not get an order for batting. 1st match he played as opener after that no batting order he get to bat proper time. Those three match he gets chance up the order and gets run out. One match he get 3 over to ball & rest one over bowling by Hodge and given 19 runs & loss the match. Last Bpl Mr. Hodge captain of Barisal did not give any chance to Shahriar Nafees most run getter Bpl 2. Shahriar Nafees played only 3 match as a captain in the last Bpl.

  • Mike on February 7, 2013, 23:52 GMT

    Shamsur Rahman can be the opening partner for Tamim at ODIs and T20s but not for Tests.

    Bangladesh ideal one day line-up: Tamim, Shamsur, Anamul, Shakib, Nasir, Rahim, Mahmudullah, Gazi, Mashrafe, Razzak and Rubel...reserves Shafiul, Milon, Abul, Nazmul, Enamul, Shahriar, Sabbir, Kapali etc but what I like about our limited overs squad is that its very competitive for places and no player is guaranteed their place.

  • State drive on February 7, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    At Mr. Islam have got some nice touch from Bpl. Hats of u for ur nice article. It is much needed from u to highlighted our cricketers performance infront of the world. If Pakistani player come here to play from 1st match, Most of our talented young player haven't get any chance to play. Again thanks mr. Islam. We hope more positive article from you.

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    The BPL has helped Bangladesh to advance by about four years.The BPL 1 has helped the Bangladeshi players to rub shoulders with the best players around the world.The present BPL 2 has helped the Bangladeshi players to get rid of the inferiority complex.The next BPL 3 will help the Bangladeshi players to progress by having more closer games and converting near wins to winning matches.

    The concerning factors are the lack of pace bowlers within our ranks and some of our batsmen are not comfortable batting against pace,although they have the talent and the technique to do so.

    I know many Bangladeshi public do not approve of Mustafa Kamal,but he needs to be complimented for introducing the BPL and advancing Bangladeshi cricket.

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    Nazmul Milon has a strike rate of over 100 in list A and I see glimpses of a proper finisher in him. He is fearless and can come in handy for Bangladesh as a late middle order player in T20's. Exceptional talent

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    Yes, what a performance by the Bangladesh uncapped players, take a bow! after the terrible incident happen at the beginning of the BPL, the game is now full on and rocking! this is one of the Greatest BPL ever, though there are some glitches here and there and minor functional disorders, but BCB has pullout the BPL 2 from a great disaster THAT MIGHT HAPPEN, A BIG thanks to them and not but the least the spectators of Bangladesh, WE ARE REALLY REALLY HAPPY...HOPE THE LOTS OF PEOPLE COME TO THE STADIUM TO WATCH THE GAME....THIS IS OUR TOURNAMENT AND THIS SHOULD BE OUR PRIDE

  • Amit on February 7, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    Bangladesh has got their second generation of fine cricketers through BPL. They will be able to carry the flag of Bangladesh with pride for next 10 years in cricket world. More hopeful to know few more quality young stars in awaiting to join the procession.

  • Chris on February 6, 2013, 22:20 GMT

    Once those retirements of other teams continues, just making it easier for the Bangladesh team. The average age of our squad is only 24 the youngest and talented of all teams the future is clear. Shouldn't be surprised when Bangladesh surpass teams likes New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka and the old ageing Pakistan in the next few years.

  • Syed on February 6, 2013, 20:55 GMT

    Those SLA spinners wont get into Bangladesh team as we have our spinners sorted. One thing we lack in bowling department is PACE! Anyone can fight for those spots and as WC15 is in Australia we need some urgently. In batting department we need 2nd, 3rd and 4th.