World T20 should get top priority - Hassan
In a further blow to the already delayed Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League, BCB president Nazmul Hassan has said he wouldn't be perturbed if it didn't take place as the preparation of the grounds in Sylhet, Cox's Bazar, Dhaka and Chittagong for the World Twenty20 in March 2014 was his priority.
"We are trying our best to hold the Dhaka Premier League in the first week of September instead of August 29. If it happens, it happens; if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen," Hassan said. "The World Twenty20 should get top-most priority, ahead of all domestic tournaments. The month of August is a very important one for me because the ground inspection team is coming, and all the grounds are undergoing work at the moment."
The comment comes a day after the tournament, which will primarily require the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka where the groundstaff have only just started to repair damaged parts of the outfield, was postponed for the fourth time in five months.
Earlier in June, Hassan expressed anxiety over the mentions of more Bangladesh players in the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit's report on corruption in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). He said at the time he was not confident of holding the Dhaka Premier League, because he might have to pull up players from clubs after the transfer/recruiting programme is completed. The league was subsequently delayed from July to the end of August, and now it has been shifted to September.
Hassan said that the league's delay was because of the space the BCB needed to create in the calendar to hold the BPL this year. But the fact remains that the Dhaka Premier League clubs were reluctant to compete when the national cricketers were away in Sri Lanka in March, when it was first scheduled to be held. It was two weeks after the BPL ended on February 19.
"We needed to correct the slot because of the BPL," he said. "I personally feel that the Dhaka Premier League is a very important league, and it has the biggest contribution to our cricket. It should get top priority.
"We have asked for the full calendar on July 29. I am not too worried if for some reason the games don't take place. The old thing could be interrupted to make room for the new tournament," he said.
In this case, the schedule of the National Cricket League (NCL), the first-class tournament, has become vulnerable as the Dhaka Premier League could spill over to after the New Zealand tour in October, when the NCL was supposed to be held. BCB are also planning to host the Bangladesh Cricket League, a zonal first-class tournament, and the BPL, after the New Zealand's tour to Bangladesh.
If the BCB president's comment is anything to go by, Bangladesh's domestic season could be compromised to prepare and host the World T20. The last time the Dhaka Premier League was not held in a season was when the Under-19 World Cup was held in Bangladesh in 2004.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here