March 3, 2012

Bangladesh Premier League 2012

What the BPL failed to do for Bangladesh cricket

Nikita Bastian
Shakib Al Hasan poses with his Man of the Series prize, Barisal Burners v Dhaka Gladiators, BPL, final, Mirpur, February 29, 2012
Shakib Al Hasan was the only local player among the top 10 run-scorers. Where was the unearthing of young, unknown Bangladesh players?  © BPL T20
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By Shahzaib Quraishi, USA

Another Twenty20 league has come and gone. While the Bangladesh Cricket Board did a decent job of putting on a good show – within a reasonably limited amount of time, and with just enough teams to make the tournament competitive yet not long-drawn – there were more cons than pros.

The first news to come out of the Bangladesh Premier League threatened the integrity of the tournament itself, with Dhaka Gladiators’ Mashrafe Mortaza reporting an approach from a fellow cricketer regarding potential spot-fixing. Later on, there was an arrest made of a man suspected to be involved in fixing in the league. 'Innocent until proven guilty' and all that aside, this seriously put a cloud of doubt over the matches played.

Payments to players had also been raised as an issue, but this is not unique to the BPL. The now defunct Indian Cricket League had similar problems and even the Sri Lanka board had been under considerable pressure until recently to release overdue payments for its contracted players.

What surprised me the most, though, was the general lack of any serious contributions from young, unknown Bangladesh players. Here the unearthing of a ‘star in the making’ was woefully missing, unlike the IPL, which, for all its faults, has given India young hopefuls like R Ashwin, Varun Aaron and Rahul Sharma. Australia’s Big Bash League had some noteworthy local performers as well, like Travis Birt and Ben Edmondson. For sure, it brought some international careers that were considered as good as dead back to life, as in the case of Brad Hogg. But where was any of this in the BPL? Here are the stats:

1. Only one of the top-ten run-getters was local (Shakib Al Hasan at No. 10), three of the top 15 (Shakib, Mohammad Ashraful and Junaid Siddique), and five of the top 20 (Shakib, Ashraful, Junaid, Mushfiqur Rahim and Nasir Hossain), none of whom are new to the national setup.

2. Among the top 20 wicket-takers, there was only one Bangladesh bowler who does not bowl left-arm spin: Mortaza. Again, Mortaza is no stranger to the legions of Bangladesh cricket fans, and is in no way a "find". This just highlights the dependency of Bangladesh cricket on left-arm spinners, the lack of variation in any prospective attack.

3. No Bangladesh player scored more than one half-century in the tournament. At a time when more consistency is needed from the batsmen, this is as bad a piece of news as any.

4. Perhaps the lack of big scores from local players could be attributed to this: in only three innings (for Chittagong in the tournament’s second match, and for Rajshahi in the fourth and ninth matches) out of a possible 66, were both openers local. That is a measly 4.54%.

5. In the four semi-final innings, and the two innings in the final, only Barisal Burners had three local batsmen in the top six. All other teams had at least four overseas players slotted in from No. 1 to No. 6, with Khulna Royal Bengals playing four out of four foreign players from No. 1 to No. 4 in the second semi-final.

The greatest good to come out of the BPL was young local players rubbing shoulders with players of the calibre of Chris Gayle, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan and Brad Hodge. One can say that overseas signings like Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed and Shahzaib Hassan were successful, but these players were themselves students in the BPL, not nearly experienced enough to impart any considerable knowledge. Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal, meanwhile, were not available for long enough to have an impact.

Any domestic tournament, like the BPL, looks to produce players for the national setup. Commercial success is usually a secondary aim. The BPL just might turn out to be a commercial success in the long-term but the current format, with five foreign players permitted in the playing XI, hardly allows any local players to make a name for themselves, grab the selectors' attention, or push for a spot in the national team.

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Hakimie on (May 23, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

I don't think Indian players would be invoevld in match fixing because Tendulkar,Dhoni,Sehwag,.. they are all rich and leading contented life(not fancy life).They are not like other celebrities..these guys are good role models..especially Sachin Last year I have seen a news report-In that Mr.Tendulkar was practicing in the middle while all youngsters were out for shopping during a foreign tournament.This made me to have a good impression on this senior's commitment.I have never heard a question of misbehavior from this man.But there may be failures to produce 100% results as this is a game and any team can be victorious on their day.So for players,its not success that matters much;its their manners while representing masses.So my dear brothers and sisters,let us support our team..hope everything is clean..and do not hate Pakistan..Hope Pak cricket board would take necessory steps to save Pak cricket.

Posted by Varun on (April 25, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

(1) The BPL, like the IPL, BBL and other 20/20 leagues, is all about money and entertainment. They never do much for talent development. (2) If you want good cricketers in your national team, you select from first-class cricket performance, not 20/20 entertainment leagues. Any fellow who thumps a couple of sixes and takes 1-2 wickets is a hero in 20/20 - you can't last in ODI or Test cricket on that. (3) Bangladesh is TOO young a side. Since Habibul Bashar in 2007, your captains have been under 25 - ideally no side should have a captain under 27. The Bangladesh team needs to grow older and get maturity - your problem is not lack of talent or youngsters (these are problems for India and Australia), its the lack of maturity and experience. Only after years of struggle, and 2 years of captaincy, is Shakib Al Hasan reaping the fruit of his labors as a player. And he is just close to 25.

Posted by Ishtiaque Ahmad on (April 12, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

The recently concluded Asia cup may have witnessed some of the positive's coming out of the BPL T20 in that quite a few players were quite uninhibited in their stroke play. Some of the innings like those played by the diminutive Mushfiqur Rahim in his blazing knock against India and the innings by Sakib Al Hasan against all the opponents contained shot making that could be attributed directly as a by product of playing the BPL T20.Just as the positives were glaringly evident we must not be swayed by any disillusionment that BPL T20 is the ultimate for improvement of cricket in Bangladesh. Let us not forget that Test cricket is the ultimate and we can only hope the "slam bang thank you mam" version of cricket does not have any detrimental on the mind set of the young Bangladeshi players

Posted by romel on (March 24, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

A real good work from the writer. Hope more from BPL as well as from the writer.

Posted by Anik on (March 7, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

What does it mean by "Among the top 20 wicket-takers, there was only one Bangladesh bowler who does not bowl left-arm spin: " ?? Left arm spinners are not considered to be talent to you ? or that fact top 5 bowler who got most wickets were all local left arm spinner made u upset ?

Posted by Sagar Gudka on (March 6, 2012, 15:09 GMT)

Its True that a nation like Bangladesh who still is struggling in getting its footings in the world cricket needed to have given more chance to local youngsters. But we have to consider the fact that it also needed that international appeal so that foreigners would spare a thought to participate in it.

Ideally it should have been 2 foreigners from heavyweight teams and 2 foreigners from the minnow nations or domestic T20 teams. It just the first year though. Lets see how it pans out in the next couple of years. :)

Posted by Mohsin on (March 5, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

Sitting in USA commenting about the matches from just watching in TV and reading is easy. Bro, you are missing the bigger picture here which is the exposure. Why is it a young talent has to come out everytime? Don't you think BPL has given platform to some injury driven or out of form players to get their hopes back in selection terms? Also it's understandable why none raw young talents did not emerge as 5 international players had to play rather than 4 which is in IPL; also talking about talents these are the finds- Ziaur Rahman, Elias Sunny, ANAMUL HAQUE (the best find IMO).

Posted by S. M. Mubtasim Mahbub on (March 5, 2012, 9:06 GMT)

Though the BPL 2012 was an entertaining tournament it is yet to show it's real aspect .

Posted by Anonymous on (March 5, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

Any domestic tournament, like the BPL, looks to produce players for the national setup. Commercial success is usually a secondary aim. The BPL just might turn out to be a commercial success in the long-term but the current format, with five foreign players permitted in the playing XI, hardly allows any local players to make a name for themselves, grab the selectors' attention, or push for a spot in the national team.

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