The ongoing Dhaka Premier League T20 competition was expected to be ideal preparation for national cricketers ahead of the ICC World T20, slated to be held in October this year. Rain hampered that plan, with the majority of games until the fifth round ending in curtailed affairs.
Interestingly, in the time spent on the pitch, it was the players outside the national set-up that emerged as the top performers with the bat after the fifth round of the DPL. The top five of the tournament's run-getters list features only one national team player: ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal, who comes in at number three with 168 runs in five games at an average of 33.60.
Young right-handed opener Anisul Islam Emon of Old DOHS Sports Club is perched at the top with 186 runs at an average of 46.50, including a half-century, while his teammate Rakin Ahmed is in second place with 170 runs.
National opener Soumya Sarkar is making inroads into the list after a poor start. The left-hander has managed to return to form and hit consecutive fifties in the last two games for Gazi Group Cricketers. Another one getting close is Abahani skipper Mushfiqur Rahim, who has played a crucial role with the bat in the middle order for his team's successes. The wicketkeeper-batsman played three unbeaten match-winning knocks in five games, including a fifty in the last game.
However, despite there being a few national cricketers that have disappointed in the tournament, poor form with the bat from star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has attracted the most eyes.
The champion cricketer has remained instrumental with the ball and scalped eight wickets so far, but the left-hander has failed to live up to his billing with the bat for Mohammedan SC so far.
The 34-year-old scored just 73 runs in five games at an average of just 14.60. His highest score this tournament has been 29 and he has been bowled thrice.
Bangladesh T20 skipper Mahmudullah Riyad also failed to get going for Gazi Group Cricketers ever since scoring an unbeaten match-winning 62 against Sheikh Jamal in the second game. He has managed score 87 runs in five matches.
On the other hand, Mehedi Hasan Miraz had a decent outing both with bat and ball for underdogs Khelaghar Samaj Kallyan Samity scoring 115 runs, including a fifty, and picking up three wickets with his off-spin while remaining economical.
However, the scenario however is different for the bowlers of the national team.
Left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman joint-top of the wicket-takers list, with 10 scalps for Prime Bank, including a five-wicket haul against Mohammedan -- the only fifer in the league so far. The left-arm pacer has shown consistency through variations and displayed great maturity. Khaled Ahmed, another pacer, shares that spot with the Fizz, having picked up ten scalps for Khelaghar.
However, players outside the national set-up are not simply rolling over. Shinepukur Cricket Club's left-arm spinner Tanvir Islam is lurking at the number three spot with nine wickets.
The likes of pacers Sumon Khan and Rejaur Rahman and off-spinner Enamul Haque are rubbing shoulders with the likes of Nayeem Hasan, Abu Jayed and Mahmudullah in the top ten wicket-takers list, which surely reflects healthy competition in the bowling department.