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Shakib makes scathing criticism of BPL: 'Huge failure of marketing'

Bangladesh allrounder says T20 league may actually be inferior to the country's domestic one-day tournament

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Shakib Al Hasan - "We don't really know what's going on in the BPL"  •  AFP/Getty Images

Shakib Al Hasan - "We don't really know what's going on in the BPL"  •  AFP/Getty Images

Two days before the start of the new season, Shakib Al Hasan offered sharp criticism of the Bangladesh Premier League, going so far as to say the tournament may very well be inferior to the Dhaka Premier League, the country's domestic one-day competition.
Asked what changes he would bring if he was made head of the BPL, Shakib highlighted the problems they are facing, especially this year, when he said he would have ensured a timely players' draft and a schedule where it wouldn't clash with other T20 leagues.
"If they made me the BPL CEO, it would take me one or two months to correct everything," Shakib said. "You have seen the movie Nayak right? If you want to do something, you can do it in one day. I would do the players' draft and auction (on time) and hold the BPL during a free time. We will have all the modern technologies. There will be quality broadcast and home and away venues."
The BPL took their time in selecting owners for each of their seven franchises, which in turn delayed their player draft to November 23. By that time, the two other tournaments that are also taking place in the same January-February window - UAE's International League T20 and South Africa's SA20 - had snapped up most of the big name talent. Even those they managed to sign won't be around for the full season, a fact which left Shakib a bit displeased.
"I don't see what's stopping us if we have the willingness (to correct things)," he said. "If we are willing, I don't see any reason not to have the DRS, the draft or auction not being held three months in advance, or the teams wouldn't be confirmed two months in advance. The players are only available for one or two matches. Nobody really knows for how long they are available."
Shakib said that the BPL may be an inferior tournament to the Dhaka Premier League, the domestic one-day competition that has been in place for nearly five decades. He even had an example to back up the assessment.
"I saw in the news that the jersey is not ready. It is a messy situation. Maybe our DPL is more organised. They can arrange the team ahead of time. They know what their team is going to be. Every DPL team knows who is playing where for the next edition.
"We don't really know what's going in the BPL. It only starts when the BPL matches start. Tournament starts from January 6. There's no BPL before that. Before this, everyone is practicing on their own."
Shakib added that the BPL has never been marketed properly even in Bangladesh where cricket is the No. 1 sport.
"There's no market because we never created the market. If we could have added value to this market, it would have been really big. Cricket is played everywhere in this country, even in remote villages.
"It is a very popular sport in a country of 160-180 million, so I don't believe there can't be a market for cricket here. It is a huge failure in terms of marketing."
Despite the BPL being telecast in several countries, Shakib said that performances in the tournament don't carry the same weight as performances in the Caribbean Premier League or the Pakistan Super League.
"They show a list of countries where the BPL is telecast, but nobody really watches the tournament. When an uncapped player does well in PSL or CPL, they get a national call-up. It doesn't happen when they play in the BPL. It is quite disappointing that we have remained at this stage."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84