DPL dropped for current season, set for October
At around mid-day on Tuesday, Dhaka Division captain Mohammad Sharif saw Abdul Mazid and Nurul Hasan complete a five-wicket win over Khulna Division. It sparked celebrations, as they could now celebrate what they had achieved earlier in the game: winning the National Cricket League for the first time in seven years.
But the day ended in a sour note for Sharif, as he heard that there will be no Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League in 2013-14. Although it was mentioned in a number of press conferences last year that both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 Dhaka Premier League tournaments will be held during the current season, the second one will now be held next season, from October 10 this year.
Technically, the next DPL falls inside the 2014-15 season, so either of the 2012-13 or 2013-14 edition has gone missing. The BCB recognises the last edition as 2012-13 Dhaka Premier League, so it would mean the one for the current season will not be held. But when asked the same question, AJM Nasiruddin, the chairman of the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM), remained vague on the subject.
"I don't know what 2012-13 is," Nasiruddin said. "What is a season? There is nothing called a season and there isn't one here. Just like the [Dhaka Premier Division] league began in September last year, it will take place in October this year."
But technically, it will be the 2012-13 season that has missed the DPL. The clubs kept telling the BCB to delay it since March last year, and it began on September 10, as the first tournament of the 2013-14 season. Because of the complication and the delays, Dhaka's lower leagues - the First, Second and Third Divisions - would not see light of day in 2013-14.
These leagues will now be held from October this year, which means that it will fall within the 2014-15 season.
As Sharif packed his bags and boarded the bus to leave Cox's Bazar for his hometown Narayanganj, he first said how proud he was of his divisional side's comeback to clinch the title after being the bottom-ranked side three years ago. He also spoke strongly about many issues that are hampering the growth of Bangladesh cricket - dead wickets, the growing star culture and the general attitude towards older cricketers.
But when he had heard that the DPL will not take place until October, he went quiet for a while.
Later, he joked that it was time to play more football, but he is also in talks to play lower league cricket in England. "I will go in June to play half the season. I have been playing there for a few years. I had an eight-wicket haul in a game last year. Some of us go, around 3-4 guys from Bangladesh. The league teams give a lot of priority to Test players," he said.
Sharif, who has played ten Tests and nine ODIs for Bangladesh, has said that especially in the last couple of years, top Bangladeshi cricketers have been cash-strapped despite getting more opportunities.
"Players are owed money from the two BPLs, and a majority of the players got 40% of their Dhaka Premier League payment from last year, despite repeated promises that the rest will be paid.
"When I heard that this season's Dhaka Premier League will not be held, I felt shocked. It is a jolt for all players," he said.
Sharif's reaction indicated how much the league meant to the players.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84