Stevens happy with timely franchise payments
Allrounder Darren Stevens said that full payments from the Comilla Victorians franchise, made before the due date, had given the team's players more confidence in their tournament-winning campaign. Stevens was also hopeful he could recover part of a pending payment from the 2013 edition of the Bangladesh Premier League.
Stevens is one of two players - Mashrafe Mortaza is the other one - to have played all three BPL editions. Stevens played for Dhaka Gladiators, who were champions in 2012 and 2013, before turning out for Comilla this season. Dhaka were led by Mashrafe in the last two editions, and he captained Comilla to victory on Tuesday.
Stevens praised Comilla for paying the players well before time, and believes this will enhance the image of the tournament in the future. Unpaid player salaries was one of the significant issues the tournament faced in its first two editions. FICA, the international players' federation had advised against future participation in the BPL after the first two tournaments, because of prolonged non-payment of fees.
"Comilla had a very professional management group who looked after the players," Stevens told ESPNcricinfo. "A huge positive was the fact that the payments were made in full before the tournament ended. The contract stated that we would get the last 25% after the tournament, but they paid us much before the deadline.
"I think it is a big thing and, as far as I know, everybody in our team got paid in full. It is a huge compliment to Nafeesa [Kamal] and the Comilla team. Massive thanks to them. It gives confidence to the players and is a bonus for players who will come to the play BPL in the future knowing that the franchises make payments in due time."
The BPL's policy, like the 2013 edition, is to clear 50% of all player payments before the tournament begins, 25% during the tournament, and the rest within one month of the tournament's final, which in this case will be January 15, 2016.
Stevens wasn't the only one to note that some franchises had paid their players in time. Barisal Bulls have been known to pay most of their foreign players on time, while Mashrafe shared a similar opinion about Comilla. Shahid Afridi, who turned out for the Sylhet Super Stars, however, suggested some players were not happy and had told him they had not received their payments.
Angus Porter, CEO of the Professional Cricketers' Association, welcomed the news that player payments in this season's BPL have been done properly.
"If Darren's experience is reflective of those of players across all the BPL franchises, that is very welcome news," he said.
Stevens, however, said he is still waiting for payment from the previous edition of the BPL and stated that he had asked the BCB this time to clear his dues. Sri Lanka batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan had also previously complained of delayed payment of match fees by the Dhaka Gladiators franchise.
"It is disappointing for us players who still didn't get paid by the BCB for the 2013 tournament," Stevens said. "I am still supposed to be paid $13,000 from 2013. I have been asking about the money when I have been to Mirpur. I am hopeful that I will get the money in time."
Stevens said that being a part of the winning side for the third consecutive time was like a dream to him. He made his second appearance in a BPL final on Tuesday and gave Comilla a breakthrough by removing Seekkuge Prasanna early in Barisal Bulls' innings.
"It was a dream come true. You go through whole careers and you win one trophy at most, sometimes you don't win at all," he said. "So to win it three times, that's what dreams are made of. When you are leaving Bangladesh, it is a special moment knowing you have won the tournament again."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84