Shakib to play for Kalabagan
Shakib Al Hasan will play for Kalabagan Krira Chakra in the 2012-13 Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League. This was the most talked-about pick among the 161 players who were recruited by the 12 clubs on Sunday's "player by choice" transfer programme.
It is a major coup for a club that finished ninth last season, and one that is not generally counted among the premier sides in the Dhaka circuit. Shakib played for last year's champions Victoria Sporting Club, and has also had stints at Biman, and Abahani and Mohammedan Sporting Club, the two major clubs in Bangladesh.
Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club were lucky to retain Mushfiqur Rahim after they were the first club to make a pick in the entire draft. Mushfiqur scored more than 1000 runs for them in 2011-12. Cricket Coaching School (CCS) did not select any players as the next pick - possibly due to budgetary constraints - before Victoria Sporting Club took Nasir Hossain and Brothers Union chose Tamim Iqbal. Abahani, who were looking to build a team around youngsters, didn't go for the only player left from the category, Shakib, who was promptly picked by Kalabagan.
The quiet environment at the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel was considerably different from the usual racket that has been the norm of player-transfer days over the last four decades. Usually clubs arrive with their chosen players at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, and with an army of supporters. There is always a fair share of drama in the form of last-minute signings, shenanigans between rival supporters, usually of Abahani and Mohammedan.
But it was more business-like this time around as the clubs pored through the 189-player roster, divided into seven categories, behind closed doors. This was the first time that the Dhaka Premier League did not have the traditional transfer. Unlike previous years, players called up officials and journalists to find out which club they will be representing.
After Shakib was chosen by Kalabagan, there wasn't too much drama left as the clubs picked a minimum of 11 players from categories A, B+, B, C and D in eleven rounds. Another four rounds to call category E players also passed by without any incidents.
Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, Kalabagan and Brothers Union were lucky enough to have three first calls each while Prime Dowleshwar Sporting Club got two first calls. Abahani, Victoria and Khelaghar Samaj Kallyan Samity got one first call each. Four other clubs including Prime Bank, Mohammedan Sporting Club, Cricket Coaching School and Kalabagan Cricket Academy didn't get a first call.
Each club can also register up to 10 overseas players, and can play three of them in a game.
Meanwhile, Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM), the organising body of the tournament, has said that the players will get their payments in three installments: 40% at the time of signing the contract, 30% before the first phase of the league ends and 30% within a month of the league's completion. CCDM chairman Jalal Yunus also told the media during the event that there have been some requests from the clubs for further delay to start the league, but they have not yet confirmed a new date.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here