Okay, hey, let’s talk about Bangladesh Premiere League for a second, shall we?
This is, of course, the inaugural season for the tournament, and is Bangladesh’s answer to the India Premiere League and the Big Bash League: a short Twenty20 tournament featuring international cricketing mercenaries.
There are six teams from six of the seven Bangladeshi cricketing regions (sorry Rangpur). The teams are as follows:
1. Barisal Burners
2. Chittagong Kings
3. Dhaka Gladiators
4. Khulna Royal Bengal
5. Duronto Rajshahi
6. Sylhet Royals
All fine names, except for the team from the Barisal division. I mean, really, the Burners? That’s the best you can do?
There was an auction for each of the franchises, they went for about $1million a piece, and there was of course an auction for the players, just like in the IPL.
Each squads has its share of “big name” t20 cricketers:
Burners: Chris Gayle, Brad Hodge, Yasir Arafat, Phil Mustard, Shane Harwood.
Kings: Dwayne Bravo, Muttiah Muralitharan
Gladiators: Shaheed Afridi (his status is in doubt, however) Imran Nazir, Kerion Pollard, Saeed Ajmal
Royal Bengal: Sanath Jayasuriya (really?), Dwayne Smith, Niall O’brien.
Rajshahi: I am disappointed in myself because I do not recommend any of the names on the squad list. They do have a Canadian, Rizwan Cheema, so that’s cool.
Royals: Faisal Iqbal, Brad Hogg, Peter Trego, Kamran Akmal.
Plus each squad features Bangladeshi players – a good opportuntity for some of them to make a name for themselves on such a big stage.
The format of the tournament is rather standard: each team plays each other team twice. The top four teams go into the knockout stage: two semi-finals and a final.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding the tournament: there was the franchise auction, and the player auction, and the logo release party, and the opening ceremonies. Plus each team has their own song and is having their own opening day party.
Whoever runs their social media has also been on a tear, I think they tweeted like 75 times the other night: mostly links to the Cricinfo pages for each of the international players, but also important bulletins like the fact that the Kings had checked into their hotel.
There are a couple disappointing things about the tournament (other than the fact that these three week t20 money grabs are what’s killing cricket): 1. It is not on TV in the states (yes, that’s me, being hypocritical) (I had thought ESPN3 would pick up the matches, as they do show Bangladeshi home internationals, but no dice) and 2. The matches will only be played in Dhaka and in Chittagong.
Regarding number 2: I thought it would have been awesome if each region had been able to host its home matches. But that is not the case, and though it must be down to an infrastructure issue (and a financial issue, surely), it really is too bad for the four franchises who will have to play all of their matches on the road.
I have feeling that it will hurt attendance as well. I mean, will cricket fans in Dhaka go watch Barisal v Duronto?
That’s a serious question.
The two stadiums involved are: the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Dhaka, and the Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium in Chittagong.
Thanks to Wikipedia for the pics:
The first match is on February 10th, with the Barisal Burners taking on the Sylhet Royals at Dhaka.
The final is on my birthday: February the 29th.
Over the next week, the weather looks to be quite good: highs in 80s, dry, clear. Great cricketing weather. Who knew the weather was so very pleasant in Bangladesh?
I really think I need to visit there.
Anyway, I won’t go as far to say that I am looking forward to the BPL, but I think it will be worth at least paying attention to.
Back on the pitch: Younis Kahn, a member of the 199 Club, cracked a century for Pakistan against England in Dubai last night, giving them a very firm grip on the match. A three-nil white wash of England for Pakistan? Unbelievable.
And just wonderful for the sport, in my opinion. Just simply wonderful.
I have talked a lot about “choosing” a nation to support. I vacillated between England, and Australia, and India, and even Bangladesh.
But now, I am thinking: Pakistan.
I know that makes me a bit of a front runner, but goodness me do I love watching them play cricket.
And they have had a really terrible time of it as late, before the series against England anyway. It’s not like they have been winning everything over the last two years like England, or even India (yes, you did win the world cup not eight months ago, remember?)
No decision is final, yet, but I am planning a post on Pakistani cricket. Go into their history a bit, see how they fit.
Until next time.