BPL plows on despite missing stars and slashed budgets

The likes of Pollard, Rashid and de Villiers aren't part of the new season, but there's plenty of local talent to get excited by

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Captains of six of the seven BPL teams line up on the eve of the tournament, Dhaka, December 10, 2019

Captains of six of the seven BPL teams line up on the eve of the tournament  •  BCB

A watered-down seventh edition of the BPL begins in Dhaka on Wednesday, after the BCB gave the franchise model a pause for the 2019-20 season. The decision has caused some controversy, but it's been implemented now, and with the tournament starting on Wednesday, ESPNcricinfo looks at the key differences between this edition and the six previous ones.
BCB completely in charge
The BCB essentially owns all seven teams in this season's BPL, but it has allowed a majority of the teams' sponsors to take control of team management, financial and logistical responsibilities. Initially, the BCB had direct management of every aspect of the Rangpur Rangers and Cumilla Warriors teams, but as recently as two days ago, the board has found a sponsor for Rangpur while still keeping direct control of the side.
Dhaka Platoon, Rajshahi Royals, Khulna Tigers and Sylhet Thunder are mainly managed by their respective sponsors. They have the option to contract players from outside the draft list, as Rajshahi did by signing Andre Russell, but in that case they have to pay his fees.
The BCB has also appointed its board directors with each of the teams to oversee their management, with the director also having a major say in team matters.
Lower budget
The draft budget is BDT 6.73 crore (approx USD 800,000), which is also the tournament participation fee for the sponsors. This amount is separate from expenses for flights, hotels and other logistics.
The players will get paid by the BCB directly, unless the team sponsors decide to contract players from outside the BCB's draft list. Teams have also hired head coaches and coaching staff from the BCB approved list, which also keeps them within the prescribed budget.
But this is a budget that is inferior to the team budget from previous BPL seasons. It is known that franchises spent, on an average, BDT 11.5 crore (approx. USD 1.37 million) last season, and their spending has generally been on the higher side as they have never really disclosed the actual amount paid to players chosen from outside the draft list.
Lack of T20 stars
Chris Gayle will be available for only two league-phase matches, according to his team Chattogram Challengers, while the likes of Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, AB de Villiers, Rashid Khan and Alex Hales, among other T20 stars, have kept away from this season's BPL. They all played in the previous editions, but due to the delay in planning by the BCB to switch the tournament to a non-franchise system, all these players had already lined up other commitments.
Shakib Al Hasan is missing for the first time from the BPL, still serving the ban for his transgression. It has left Russell as the one blockbuster presence, and his endorsement of the BPL as his tournament of choice gives the 2019-20 version some validation.
The overseas contingent also includes Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Nabi and Rilee Rossouw, last year's top scorer in the BPL.
Focus on new talent
Some of Bangladesh's new talent will be on show, with the likes of Mohammad Naim and young legspinners Aminul Islam, Minhajul Abedin Afridi and Rishad Hossain picked on their current form. But the trio are also being heavily promoted by the BCB so that Bangladesh have a decent legspinner in their T20I side in the coming year, in which they will play the T20 World Cup in Australia.
Sylhet Thunder has picked left-arm quick Ruyel Miah, who recently bagged the best bowling figures by a pace bowler in Bangladesh's first-class history. Young wicketkeepers Jaker Ali and Mahidul Islam have also found teams, as have rookie fast bowlers Sumon Khan and Hasan Mahmud.
BCB-run teams
Although Rangpur Rangers are now sponsored by Incepta, they will still be run by the BCB, while Cumilla Warriors don't have a sponsor, and are fully run by the board. Both teams, however, have disregarded the BCB's instructions of carrying a "140-plus" fast bowler and a legspinner in their squads, while both have named foreign players, Mohammad Nabi (Rangpur) and Dasun Shanaka (Cumilla) as captains.
How well these teams perform will, in a way, be a reflection of how the BCB views T20 cricket. So far, the board hasn't promoted its own mandate, and the captaincy choices have already picked up some heat among local fans and media.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84