Lack of chance, power and unfamiliarity
There has been no shortage of competitiveness in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 so far, even the low-scoring encounters saw nail-biting ends. But two talking points remain with the inaugural tournament: poor turn-outs and the lack of important runs from the local batsmen.
Only on two occasions -- both involving hometown franchise, Chittagong Kings, playing at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium -- did the crowd really look like a decent one. Otherwise, despite the cut down of the ticket prices, it has been quite an embarrassment for the organisers who have only looked at each other for answers for such low interest.
There is also some curiosity about the semifinal line-ups right at this moment but the main question mark is on the local players. Why have they failed to steal the show in this tournament? So far it has been dominated by Pakistanis and West Indians; aged or not, experienced or otherwise.
The local spinners though have come to the limelight, particularly left-arm spinner Enamul Haque who has impressed one and all while Shakib Al Hasan has been Shakib Al Hasan: one can't compare the world's No. 1 all-rounder with anybody in the country as he has a mighty presence not only as Khulna Royal Bengals' captain but also as a leading wicket-taker with his left-arm spin (though he has yet to prove his class with the bat).
The unbeaten 89 by Junaed Siddiqui puts him as the lone local batsman on the top ten list but still his overall batting performance was not satisfactory. The experts however found few reasons behind the failure, namely, the lack of opportunity to bat at the top of the order, lack of power and overall the relative unfamiliarity with the newest version of the game.
"I think the quality of cricket is not too bad in the tournament because we watched some very entertaining matches no matter whether that were low-scoring affairs or not. Our bowling performance was not bad especially the spinners have done an excellent job so far and I want to particularly mention the name of Enamul [Haque] who came back strongly in the tournament," said Faruque Ahmed, the former national skipper who is a consultant of Duronto Rajshahi.
"Batting-wise, definitely we have to improve a lot. Some of our batsmen showed their ability but still the overall picture is not encouraging. In my observation we are yet to learn the tactics of how to handle the situation in T20 cricket. Once again I want to say that one can only become a good batsman if he is good in the longer-version cricket. You see that quality cricketers are good in all three formats," he added.
"In my opinion this tournament is helping us to know about our standard of the players. Without any doubt 80 per cent of the performances have come from the foreign cricketers but I am impressed by the bowlers. Our batsmen might not have got enough chances but still their batting performance should have been much better. Shakib [Al Hasan], [Mahmudullah] Riyad, Mushfiqur [Rahim] and Junaed [Siddiqui] played some good knocks but still what I felt is that we are yet to acclimatise with the newest version of the game," observed chief selector Akram Khan, who is also an official of the Barisal Burners.
Khaled Mahmud, the head coach of the Chittagong Kings, however is hopeful that the tournament will be much better in the future as this year the franchises had hardly any time to prepare their teams.
"The standard of cricket might not be bad. We hardly got any time to prepare the team. I do agree that our batting was not good compared to our bowling performances and I think the lack of power of our batsmen made the difference. Strength-wise, the West Indies and Pakistan players are far ahead of us which you have to take this into consideration. But still there are rays of hope with some of our batsmen," opined the former Bangladesh captain.
"There may be some deficiencies in the first season, but I am hopeful that it would be different from the next year," he hoped.