The players’ draft for the sixth edition of Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 tournament ended on Sunday with little suspense as seven franchises carefully crafted their squads at a city hotel.
With most of the teams retaining their preferred players and signing at least two foreigners directly before the draft, fringe Bangladeshi players were at the center of spotlight in the draft, marred by delayed start and poor hosting.
In one of the highlights of the draft, Chittagong Vikings picked up former Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful marking his return to the cash-rich event after three seasons.
Ashraful, who served a five-year ban for match-fixing in the second edition of the same tournament in 2013, was drafted in Category B with a price tag of TK 18 lakh.
‘It’s a matter of pleasure for me. It’s an international standard tournament. I think it will be easier for me to get picked in the Bangladesh team if I perform well here. My aim will be doing well for Chittagong,’ Ashraful told New Age over phone from Bogura.
Chittagong earlier roped in wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim through backstage negotiations after the BPL authorities made an exception for the senior national player who was released by Rajshahi Kings and remained unpicked by other franchises prior to draft being the only A+ category player.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Jahurul Islam was the first player to be picked from the draft by Khulna Titans who got the chance to make the first call in the draft delayed by one and half hour from the schedule.
Rajshahi followed Khulna picking up Soumya Sarkar before Chittagong opted for Mosaddek Hossain.
Dhaka Dynamites took Rubel Hossain in their first call and Sylhet followed them by calling for young all-rounder Afif Hossain.
Comilla Victorians wasted no time to pick Abu Hider who helped them winning the maiden title in 2015 with 21 wickets.
Defending champions Rangpur Riders surprisingly opted for pacer Shafiul Islam in their first call.
The mundane draft program got some excitement suddenly once Khulna picked U-19 pacer Shoriful Islam only to be discouraged by a Dhaka official who claimed that the player would not be available for the tournament due to his national assignment.
BCB director Mahbub Anam, a shocking choice as the host of the draft, who fumbled on many occasions making the event a rather funny affair at times, took several minutes to satisfy Khulna by removing the confusion.
The draft came as heartbreaks for some senior cricketers like Abdur Razzak, Shahriar Nafees, Naeem Islam, Tanvir Hayder as well as young players like Saif Hassan, Jubair Hossain who remained unpicked by any team.
Some seasoned overseas campaigners like Luke Wright, Imran Tahir, Mohaamad Hafeez, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan and Darren Sammy also remained unsold in the draft event.
West Indies’ Fabian Allen was the first overseas player to be picked in the draft event after the 23-year old all-rounder from Category E was bought by Sylhet which later on bought Pakistan pacer Mohammad Irfan.
Comilla appeared to be best buyer of overseas players as they included players like Evin Lewis, Shahid Afridi and Thisara Perera to strengthen their squad.
Reigning champions Rangpur picked Ravi Bopara and Rilee Rossouw to support their star-studded top-order with the likes of Chris Gayle, Alex Hales and AB de Villiers.
Rangpur coach Tom Moody was also happy with his team and hoped to qualify for the finals once again.
‘Obviously next year is completely a new tournament. The success we had last year which was great. But today was about planning and preparing for another tournament.
‘Certainly, it’s nice to be the holders and the champions. But today we felt that we had a successful draft and hopefully we’ve built a team that we feel can compete and play finals come next year,’ he added.
Among the other big picks – Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and Zimbabwe’s Brendan Taylor were taken by Khulna while last year’s runner-up Dhaka included England’s 36-year old batsman Ian Bell, who last played an international match in 2015.
How BPL teams shape up
Dhaka Dynamites: Sakib al Hasan, Sunil Narine (WI), Rovman Powell (WI), Kieron Pollard (WI) (retained), Andre Russell (WI), Hazratullah Zazai (AFG) (direct recruit), Rubel Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Rony Talukdar, Shuvagata Hom, Andrew Birch (SA), Ian Bell (ENG), Qazi Anik, Mizanur Rahman, Asif Hasan, Shahadat Hossain, Naim Sheikh (recruited from the draft)
Khulna Titans: Mahmudullah, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Hossain, Carlos Brathwaite (WI) (retained), David Malan (ENG), Ali Khan (USA) (direct recruit), Jahirul Islam, Shoriful Islam, Taijul Islam, Al Amin, Zahir Khan (AFG), Sherfane Rutherford (WI), Subashis Roy, Junaed Siddique, Tanvir Islam, Mahidul Islam, Lasith Malinga (SL), Yasir Shah (PAK) Brendan Taylor (ZIM) (recruited from the draft).
Comilla Victorians: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Saifuddin, Shoaib Malik (PAK)(retained), Liam Dawson (ENG), Asela Gunaratne (SL) (direct recruit), Abu Hider, Anamul Haque, Mahedi Hasan, Ziaur Rahman, Shahid Afridi (PAK), Thisara Perera (SL), Mosharraf Hossain, Mohammad Shahid, Shamsur Rahman, Sanjit Saha, Evin Lewis (WI), Waqar Salmakheil (AFG), Amer Yamin (PAK) (recruited from the draft).
Rajshahi Kings: Mominul Haque, Mehedi Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Zakir Hasan (retained), Christiaan Jonker (SA), Qais Ahmad (AFG) (direct recruit), Soumya Sarkar, Fazle Rabbi, Arafat Sunny, Alauddin Babu, Isuru Udana (SL), Laurie Evans (ENG), Marshall Ayub, Kamrul Islam, Ryan Ten Doeschate (NL), Sekkuge Prasanna (SL), Mohammad Sami (PAK) (recruited from the draft).
Sylhet Sixers: Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Sohail Tanvir (PAK), Liton Das (retained), David Warner (AUS), Sandeep Lamichhane (NEP) (direct recruit), Afif Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Al-amin Hossain, Tawhid Hridoy, Fabian Allen (WI), Mohammad Irfan (PAK), Nabil Samad, Ebadat Hossain, Alok Kapali, Zakir Ali Anik, Gulbadin Naib (AFG), Andre Fletcher (WI), Mehedi Hasan Rana, Pat Brown (ENG), Nicholas Pooran (WI) (recruited from the draft).
Rangpur Riders: Mashrafee bin Murtaza, Nazmul Islam, Mohammad Mithun, Chris Gayle (WI) (retained), AB de Villiers (SA), Alex Hales (ENG) (direct recruit), Shafiul Islam, Shohag Gazi, Farhad Reza, Mehedi Maruf, Ravi Bopara (ENG), Rilee Rossouw (SA), Nahidul Islam, Nadif Chowdhury, Abul Hasan, Fardin Hossain, Benny Howell (ENG), Osane Thomas (WI) (recruited from the draft).
Chittagong Vikings: Luke Ronchi (NZ), Mushfiqur Rahim, Sunjamul Islam, Sikandar Raza (ZIM) (retained), Mohammad Shahzad (AFG), Robert Frylinck (SA) (direct recruit), Mosaddek Hossain, Abu Jayed, Khaled Ahmed, Nayeem Hasan, Cameron Delport (SA), Dasun Shanaka (SL), Mohammad Ashraful, Rabiul Haque, Yasir Ali, Nihaduzzaman, Nazibullah Zadran (AFG), Sadman Islam (recruited from the draft).