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Young players to watch in BPL 2023: Jaker Ali, Mrittunjoy Chowdhury and more

The T20 tournament starting on Friday could be the platform that launches the careers of these five promising talents

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
05-Jan-2023
Mrittunjoy Chowdhury excelled in his very first BPL season last year  •  Chattogram Challengers

Mrittunjoy Chowdhury excelled in his very first BPL season last year  •  Chattogram Challengers

Mrittunjoy Chowdhury (Chattogram Challengers)
Playing his very first BPL, the 21-year old left-arm quick finished among the top five wicket-takers last year, with 15 strikes at 14.93 including a hat-trick against the Sylhet Sunrisers. He followed up that surprisingly good BPL performance with a 17-wicket haul in the 50-over Dhaka Premier League. Mrittunjoy was picked in the Bangladesh A side on their West Indies tour last year, before taking just three wickets in three National Cricket League (first-class) matches at the start of the 2022-23 season. Mrittunjoy also appeared for Bangla Tigers in the Abu Dhabi T10.
Jaker Ali (Comilla Victorians)
As far as batting form is concerned, there are few like him in Bangladesh right now. Jaker comes into the BPL with successive first-class centuries next to his name. Those who have observed this 24-year old right-hander say he is getting close to becoming a senior team candidate. A productive BPL season therefore could bring him closer to his ultimate target. It would also give Jaker his first big BPL campaign after three ordinary seasons, for Sylhet Sixers, Dhaka Platoon and Khulna Tigers. Jaker has, however, adjusted well to the needs of the three formats, having been a steady performer in domestic cricket for a few years now.
Akbar Ali (Sylhet Strikers)
Fans in Bangladesh have been waiting for three years to see this 21-year old wicketkeeper rise up to the big stage. Akbar was the captain of the Under-19 team when they were crowned world champions for the first time in 2020. His calm demenour under pressure won many hearts, and suggested that a big star was in the offing. But Akbar hasn't lived up to that hype even at the domestic level. There has been the odd good innings though, which has added to the overall frustration about his ascent into the top level. A good BPL campaign, however, could change things, and give Akbar much-needed liftoff.
Saim Ayub (Rangpur Riders)
This 20-year old Pakistan opener made 416 runs for Sindh in the National T20 Cup last year, at a strike rate of 155.22. His one and only Pakistan Super League season, in 2021, didn't go well but big runs in this season's BPL could get him back on the radar. Ayub is strong on both sides of the wicket, often pressing hard in the Powerplay period, and also quite adept at playing big innings. The only snag could be finding a place in the Rangpur playing XI, given the quality of their squad.
Tom Moores (Sylhet Strikers)
The 26-year old wicketkeeper-batter could be vital, particularly when it comes to balancing his team's batting line-up. He only got to bat twice in this season's Hundred, although his team, Trent Rockets, became eventual champions. Moores struck at 143.78 in 14 Vitality Blast matches last year, as he enhanced his reputation as a boundary-hitter. He also has experience of batting in the subcontinent, having played for Multan Sultans in the PSL and Jaffna Stallions in the LPL.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84