The new-look Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) will kick off today with Chattogram Challengers taking on Sylhet Thunder in the tournament opener 1:30pm at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. In the second match of the day, Cumilla Warriors will lock horns with Rangpur Rangers under the lights in the evening from 7:00pm at the same venue.
This edition will be one of a kind with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) organising it without the involvement of franchises for the first time. Aside from this, this edition of the BBPL will likely also see a number of other changes, taking the board’s expectations from the players into account.
This year the BCB has already touted the BBPL to be a wonderful platform for young local players, who could use the platform to prove their mettle and earn a place in the national T20 squad for the T20 World Cup in October 2020. Emphasis was also placed on the inclusion of a wrist-spinner and an express pace bowler in each squad for this edition.
With the BCB at the wheel, the focus is supposed to be on young prospects like Aminul Islam, Yasir Ali, Saif Hassan and Mohammad Naim. Aminul, who has shown promise in Bangladesh’s three T20Is during their tour of India last month, will hope to continue his good form for Khulna Tigers and provide some hope to the national selectors who have been searching for a quality leg-spinner for a long time. Meanwhile, Yasir will be hoping to emulate his fine form in the last edition for Cumilla this time.
While youngsters will be pumped to excel, stalwarts like Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Tamim Iqbal will be returning to cricket after a considerable break. Dhaka Platoon skipper Mashrafe has been out of action since the World Cup in the summer. The 36-year-old pacer will have a point to prove after recovering from a groin injury that he picked up during practice in mid-November.
Mashrafe’s Dhaka teammate Tamim, who just played the first round of the National Cricket League (NCL) for Chattogram Division in October, will make a comeback to competitive cricket since his dismal showing as an interim ODI captain during Bangladesh’s tour of Sri Lanka in late July.
Since its inception, this will also be the only edition that will see no involvement of the nation’s premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who was handed a two-year ban (one year suspended) by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last October for failing to report corrupt approaches from a bookmaker.
It will also be an opportunity for Cumilla’s Sabbir Rahman, who was left out of the T20 squad for Bangladesh’s India tour after his meek performance during the tri-nation series against Afghanistan and Zimbabwe in September. Sabbir, who has since been out of the spotlight, will look to make a statement through this BBPL.
Meanwhile, Mosaddek Hossain, Afif Hossain, Soumya Sarkar and Taskin Ahmed will all be hoping to shine for their respective teams and give the national selectors a sweet headache ahead of the T20 world cup in October next year.
The usual excitement and hype surrounding the tournament is yet to reach its peak and it remains to be seen if the tournament can create some buzz when the teams step on the field today.