Tone set for star-studded BPL
The players' draft of the 10th Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) was held with a lot of vigour and excitement at a city hotel yesterday even though many of the seven franchises had already formed their squads ahead of the draft.
The main attraction of the event was the signing of Mushfiqur Rahim, who was the only Category A local player with a base price of Tk 80 lac. The wicketkeeper-batter was picked by Fortune Barishal, who had roped in Tamim Iqbal as a direct local signing before the draft.
Alongside Mushfiqur, Barishal also picked Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Saifuddin, Taijul Islam, and Dinesh Chandimal from the draft. Barishal had also retained Mahmudullah Riyad and Mehedi Miraz, thus, making their squad full of national team stars. Their overseas direct signings -- Dunith Wellalage, Paul Sterling, Fakhar Zaman, Shoaib Malik, and Mohammad Amir -- make them a formidable team.
Tamim, who was present and involved during the players' draft, was satisfied with the team.
"Captaincy is not important to me. I feel that the experience we will get with [Mahmudullah] Riyad bhai, Mushfiqur, and Miraz in the side is important. We have a good mix of youth and experience. The balance is good," Tamim told reporters yesterday at the event.
Meanwhile, in Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's absence, direct local signing Najmul Hossain Shanto was present at the event for Sylhet Strikers. The franchise picked Yasir Ali and national team pacer Shoriful Islam from the draft.
There were no major international star signings from the draft with most of the franchises going for direct signings ahead of the event. Defending champions Comilla Victorians had boosted their side with the likes of Moeen Ali, Andre Russell, and Rashid Khan as overseas direct signings before the draft. The franchise also picked national team star Tawhid Hridoy, one of the standout performers of the previous BPL, as a direct local signing.
Comilla, who have progressed well in terms of setting up a brand value through retaining the core of the side, were smooth once again, roping in Mrittunjoy Chowdhury, Imrul Kayes, and off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall from the players' draft. Comilla coach Mohammad Salahuddin said that Windies' Cornwall was a very good addition for them, lending good balance to the side. They had already retained Liton Das and Mustafizur Rahman.
Khulna Tigers also made important calls, picking Afif Hossain, Kasun Rajitha, and Dashun Shanaka from the draft.
Interestingly, after getting the chance to call first, Rangpur Riders went for Rony Talukdar despite having Mushfiqur available. The franchise would be hoping to flourish under the captaincy of their direct local signing Shakib Al Hasan, who was also present at the draft. They also picked Shamim Hossain from the draft.
A number of international stars are set to feature in the upcoming BPL with Rangpur picking up Babar Azam, Matheesha Pathirana, and Wanindu Hasaranga as direct overseas signing.