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Feature

ESPNcricinfo BPL XI: Shakib Al Hasan, Moeen Ali, Mustafizur Rahman among the picks

Young performers in Mrittunjoy Chowdhury, Yasir Ali, Will Jacks find spots too

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
19-Feb-2022
Comilla Victorians celebrate their third BPL title, Comilla Victorians vs Fortune Barishal, BPL 2022, final, Dhaka, February 18, 2022

Comilla Victorians celebrate their third BPL title  •  AFP/Getty Images

A few familiar names, some exciting new talent from Bangladesh and a group of overseas players who stood out make it to ESPNcricinfo's BPL XI after the eighth season came to a close on Friday with Comilla Victorians winning their third title.
Tamim Iqbal - 407 runs, 132.57 strike-rate, 1x100, 4x50s
A century against Sylhet was the highlight of Tamim's BPL campaign this year. He also struck four fifties but he played for the generally disappointing Minister Group Dhaka, who ended up fifth in the points table, failing to reach the playoffs. Tamim got quick runs at the top, and often provided a good start with Mohammad Shahzad. But as the tournament wore on, Dhaka's other batters did worse. This is the third time that Tamim crossed 400 runs in a BPL season.
Will Jacks - 414 runs, 155.05 strike-rate, 4x50s
Jacks lived up to his billing as one of the players to watch in the BPL. He finished as the highest run-getter, as well as the best batter in the powerplay. Jacks single-handedly powered Chattogram Challengers in the latter stages, particularly in the last league game when his unbeaten 92 took them into the last four. Jacks believed that he will leave Bangladesh as a better player of spin".
Andre Fletcher - 410 runs, 138.98 strike-rate, 1x100, 3x50s
The Spiceman finished the BPL as the second-highest run-getter, which also made up for his disappointing 2019-20 season with Sylhet Thunder. For Khulna Tigers this year, he provided fast starts and often took the innings deep. The standout innings was the century against Comilla Victorians that gave Khulna the points to get into the last four. This was also Fletcher's best franchise campaign in a few years, and will surely bring him back to the BPL next season.
Shakib Al Hasan (capt) - 284 runs, 16 wickets, 3x50s
Shakib led Fortune Barishal from the front quite literally, being among their top run-getters and wicket-takers. His revival in form after the first few matches helped Barishal turn a corner. Shakib became the first cricketer to clinch five consecutive Player-of-the-Match awards in T20 history. Barishal went into the final with a run of seven wins in a row, but Shakib couldn't quite break through Comilla.
Moeen Ali - 225 runs, 9 wickets, 1x50
In his return to the BPL after nine years, Moeen proved to be a big hit with the eventual champions Comilla Victorians. His 38 in the final came after they slipped to 95 for 6. Moeen made important runs and took key wickets throughout his time in the BPL. He played the role of middle-order enforcer for Comilla, who missed his big-hitting in the first few matches. Moeen also seemed to have found a good bowling rhythm in the subcontinent having already done very well in the last IPL and decently in the PSL too.
Yasir Ali - 219 runs, 139.49 strike-rate, 1x50
It would be a big surprise if the Bangladesh selectors ignored Yasir for the T20I side. He has already made his return to the ODI squad after nearly three years, but that was probably on account of his impressive showing in his first three Tests. His form in the BPL suggests that he didn't lose his T20 touch, which is what brought him to attention in the first place. Yasir struck important runs for Khulna, who often fell into a hole in the middle overs. Yasir put together good partnerships with Mushfiqur Rahim, winning them a few games.
Anamul Haque (wk) - 280 runs, 121.73 strike-rate, 4 dismissals, 1x50
It wasn't a rewarding tournament for wicketkeeper-batters in this season's BPL. Anamul wins this spot on the back of his 280 runs, the most by any wicketkeeper, but his job behind the stumps wasn't really up to the mark. But those who kept well - Nurul Hasan and Mahidul Islam - didn't do justice with the bat. Anamul never really played a match-winning knock for Sylhet Sunrisers, but was easily their best batter until Colin Ingram began to blaze the runs during the Sylhet phase.
Sunil Narine - 159 runs, 198.75 strike-rate, 4 wickets, 2x50s
It would have been hard to justify Narine's place in this XI if you only viewed his numbers in isolation. But his Player-of-the-Match performances in the second qualifier and final showed him to be one of the most valuable allrounders in the BPL this season. He made a 13-ball half-century in the second qualifier, before a 21-ball fifty plus a brilliant bowling performance got Comilla their third trophy.
Shohidul Islam - 14 wickets at 16.92 average, 9.00 economy
Putting the exclamation point in this season's BPL wasn't Shohidul's only contribution in the tournament for Comilla. As well as he bowled, giving away eight runs in the last over against Fortune Barishal, it was simply a continuation of his performances in the two playoffs where he took three wickets each. He had started the BPL well, but lost his way midway. His death overs performance should help the Bangladesh selectors take notice.
Mrittunjoy Chowdhury - 15 wickets at 14.93 average, 9.14 economy
After a hat-trick on debut against Sylhet, Mrittunjoy became the most exciting bowling talent in the BPL. He knocked off four wickets in the end of their match against Barishal, before taking another three-for against Sylhet. Like Shohidul, Mrittunjoy showed great poise in the death overs, and he is a capable left-handed bat too.
Mustafizur Rahman - 19 wickets at 13.47 average, 6.62 economy
It wasn't a huge surprise that Bangladesh's only IPL pick in this year's auction was the BPL's top wicket-taker. Mustafizur led the Comilla attack superbly, often giving them early breakthroughs, and always being a banker in the last five overs. His six-run penultimate over in the final was all class, starting with his legcutter that duped Najmul Hossain Shanto. Bangladesh are getting some new fast bowling talent, but Mustafizur's standard remains undisputed.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84