Bangladesh Premier League 2012-13 February 20, 2013

On-field improvement, but off-field issues remain

Despite its many controversies, the BPL served as a meaningful event for Bangladesh players because they were exposed to a higher standard of cricket

The Bangladesh Premier League organisers were relieved when the tournament ended. Four weeks ago such relief was far away, after the PCB refused to release its players for the league. Despite regaining its foothold, and several local talents emerging on the field, the BPL faced problems off it.

Ahead of the opening game, the biggest worry was whether the franchises would be able to replace the Pakistani players who were withdrawn because of the fall-out between the Pakistan board and the BCB. The player payments became the chief talking point when the BPL began, and to further complicate matters, there were complaints about sub-standard hotels in Khulna for some franchises. Poor crowd turnout in Khulna and Dhaka was another concern, and that was due to high ticket prices and the ticket-selling venues.

Player payments were always going to be under scrutiny after the long delays in the first season. This time, the issues spilled into public domain a few times during the competition. First, Owais Shah complained of delays in fees, and Abdur Razzak said he and his team-mates were playing without payment. Then came a moment when the BPL could have been thrown completely off kilter. Duronto Rajshahi's overseas players threatened not to play a match after not being paid for two-thirds of the tournament.

The first snag was set right a few days after Shah admitted it was his mistake that the money didn't arrive in his account. It also showed the lack of coordination between the BPL governing council, which represented the BCB, the tournament's event management firm, and the franchises.

The second complaint, by Razzak, was not followed up by the BPL or the media, and nor was it addressed by the Rangpur franchise. However, when the Rajshahi foreigners almost didn't play against Khulna Royal Bengals, the BCB convinced them with a request not to sully the competition. And all of this was just for the first 25% of the payment.

The next deadline has already been extended to February 25, although it was first set for the day of the final. The trouble over payments in the next six months, the period that has been set to complete all player payments, will be the BPL's biggest challenge.

On the field, it was a better story this year. The Bangladeshi cricketers adapted to the demands of a Twenty20 competition and won mental battles. The manner in which some of the uncapped players dealt with fast bowling, albeit on slow wickets, showed how jumping up a level is becoming second nature for the average cricketer. A few scenes stood out: the dismissive hitting of Nazmul Hossain Milon, the six fifties by Shamsur Rahman, but most of all the boldness of Nasir Hossain was the biggest gain of the BPL.

Nasir's mannerisms looked arrogant to some, but it is this sort of confidence that Bangladeshi players are not known for. By switching stances to distract a fast bowler in the middle of a good spell, or rubbing his hands before taking a catch, the young allrounder showed how the heat of the battle or the weight of the big stage made him comfortable and not inhibited.

The confidence of Shahriar Nafees and the return to form of Mohammad Ashraful were also signs that Bangladesh cricket needs a tournament where the players face and play with overseas cricketers on a regular basis.

That it needed a Twenty20 tournament to bring better competition was perhaps not ideal. Other formats also need the attention reserved for the BPL, particularly one-day cricket, a format where the Bangladesh senior team has had improving results at home.

The other point of debate is whether franchises, some of which have been deemed "unprofessional" even by the likes of Khaled Mashud, the former Bangladesh captain, deserve such attention. The question is whether the BCB can resurrect a tournament that has so many flaws in its make-up.

The BCB has a lot more to do in this regard. Educating the franchises on how to manage a team should be high on the to-do list, but it will all depend on how fast the pay issues can be resolved. Otherwise, the same problems will surface the next time the BPL is held.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 22, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    As an Afghan cricket fan, I would like to thank BPL and BCB for giving an opportunity to young Afghan talents such as Shapoor Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Hamid Hassan and Samiullah Shinwari to play in second edition of BPL. It was a wonderful opportunity and thousands of Afghans were glued to their TVs or computers to watch their players shine in Bangladesh.

  • KH. RAFIQUE on February 22, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    Yet another negative reporting from Isam.But i would say BPL 2 was simply a blockbuster for the Ban cricket.If BCB handle the payment issues more carefully then next tournament would be a bigger one than the this one thats for a sure whether any PAK players come or not (I would prefer more AUS,ENG,NZ and SA players but no PAK players).

  • Dummy4 on February 22, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    A well organized BPL tournament. Hope next year it will be more more and more delightful event in cricket world.

  • Abdul on February 21, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    From BPL 3 local players should be given more break. Maximum foreign player should be 4 instead of 5. Also all matches need to held at Home and Away basis. I think BCB will work on it.

  • Enamul on February 21, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    Thnx to BCB for bringing so many world class players. BPL ROCKS........... Chris Gayle,Kieron Pollard,Simon Katich,Luke Wright,TM Dilshan,David Miller,Shaun Tait,Owaish Shah,Shiv N Chanderpaul,Ravi Bopara,Brad Hodge,Lou Vincent,Suleiman Benn,Dwyne Smith,Ben Edmondson,Jehan Mubarak,Dimitri Mascarenhas,James Pattinson,Cameron Borgas,Alfonso Thomas,Chamara Kapugedara,Dilshan Muneevera,Azhar Mahmood,Kabir Ali,Fidel edwards,Jacob Oram,Danza Hyatt,Daniel Harris,Samuel Badree,Keving o'Brein,Rayan Tendoeschate,Elton Chigumbura,Hamilton Masakadza,Shapoor Zardan,Kevon Cooper,Brendon Taylor,Joe Denly,Daniel Smith,Krishmar Santokie,Riki Wessels,Shane harwood,Charles Coventry,Alex Hales,Rizwan Cheema,SM ErvineJason, RoyBRM Taylor etc.

  • Enamul on February 21, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    Syed Zeeshan Haider@ BPL has become more attractive after exclusion of Pakistani players. We dont want to see any pakistani players in next editions of BPL as well. Bangladeshi youngstars ROCKS.

  • Ken on February 21, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    on the whole, another good tournament. the actual cricket that was played was exciting to watch cos the standard was very good. established players like gayle, hodge, thomas.... etc excelled as usual. meanwhile, up and coming players like taskin, sabbir and shamsur really shone in the spotlight.

    although, i really think the organisation and professionalism of the organisers, team management and BCB needs to improve. they need to stop taking short cuts and need to get rid of their "this will be just about good enough" attitude (referring to payments, hotels for players...etc).

  • Abdul on February 21, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    @Syed Zeeshan Haider, you are wrong bro. When Zaka Ashraf declared that they are not going to send pakistani player I thought this time BPL is going to be flop but the scenario was different. The tournament was great. All the franchises managed to get good replacement of Pakistani players. I have watched the final match in the stadium. Believe me brother I've never seen this much crowd in Mirpur Stadium. Not even in the international matches.

  • Dummy4 on February 21, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    People want to see on field successes. What happens out of the field do not carry that much importance. On that perspective it was incredible.

  • Baundule on February 21, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    Most of the BPL controversies were created by Isam's articles, those were often premature and far away from the facts. BPL had a huge number of Pakistani players. They withdrew at the very last moment. Most other international teams were also busy. Still the BPL managed to run on schedule, bringing in quality international players within a very very short time. The quality of cricket has been superb. Most of the matches were houseful. BPL has done wonders for Bangladesh cricket, many players have emerged as the future of BD cricket. The management certainly deserve their credit.

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