No. 1 priority is to play for country, says Hathurusingha on IPL issue
Although Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha admitted the importance of playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Sri Lankan advocates prioritising playing for the country ahead of the T20 franchise league.
Previously, the Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan Papon had stated that the players will only get the No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the IPL only after fulfilling the national duty after Bangladesh Test captain Shakib Al Hasan alongside deputy Liton Das wanted to skip the lone Test against Ireland and the subsequent Ireland tour to take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Kolkata Knight Riders.
Hathurusingha, ahead of the three-match T20I series against Ireland, also echoed similar sentiment.
"Definitely, there is no doubt that it will help their skills if they play IPL since it's a high-class tournament. But their first priority is to play for the country," Hathurusingha told the media during the pre-match press conference in Chattogramon on Sunday.
Based on the BCB's response, chances of Kolkata to receive Shakib and Liton's service from the beginning of the IPL -- slated to begin from March 31 before Kolkata play their first game against Punjab Kings on April 1 in Mohali -- remain slim since Bangladesh are set to play the lone Test against Ireland from April 4 in Mirpur.
Apart from Shakib and Liton, Mustafizur will feature for Delhi Capitals in the upcoming edition of IPL and since the left-arm quick is not part of the red-ball contract, the 'cutter master' was expected to get the NOC to play from the beginning.
However, the Tigers are scheduled to play a three-match ODI series against hosts Ireland from May 9 to 14, which would result in Mustafizur missing the three IPL games during that period.
"I think Mustafizur Rahman will also play [IPL], so total three players. I think the board's decision is to play for the country first and the board had informed about this before sending their names for the auction. So, it's like that," Hathurusingha added.
In the current context, Shakib and Liton can be available for a total of five games in two steps while Mustafizur will be available for three games in the IPL.