The fifth edition of Bangladesh Premier League will see some extra glamour with the inclusion of some of the world’s most prominent Twenty20 stars, who will make their debut in the tournament this year.
Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga, New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum, England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler have dominated franchise-based Twenty20 cricket across the world but never played in BPL previously.
They will join respected names in world cricket like Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed, Australian batsman Chris Lynn, New Zealander Luke Ronchi, South Africa’s Rillee Rousow, Kyle Abbott and West Indies’s Samuel Badree as BPL first timers.
Some upcoming Pakistani stars like top-ranked one-day international bowler Hassan Ali, all-rounder Fahim Ashraf, Champions Trophy hero Fakhar Zaman and consistent batsman Babar Azam are also expected to make their BPL debut this season.
The rising status of the tournament after few scandal-hit editions and the cancellation of Global Twenty20 League in South Africa helped BPL wooing so many superstars to make it more colourful this time, said franchise officials.
Mashrafee bin Murtaza’s Rangpur Riders included former New Zealand skipper McCullum and Sri Lankan pacer Malinga after the players’ draft event in pursuit of their maiden title as the side also roped in some other megastars like Chris Gayle.
McCullum, often called as the Tendulkar of Twenty20 cricket, however, did not commit himself for the first three matches, meaning Riders would have to wait until November 18 to see him making his debut against Comilla Victorians
However, they were expecting to get the full service of Caribbean spinner Badree and Sri Lankan pacer Malinga throughout the BPL.
Defending champions Dhaka Dynamites filled their squad with the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Sunil Narine, Kevon Cooper but that did not stop the side to secure the service of retired Australian player Watson.
Another title aspirants Khulna Titans picked Pakistan skipper Sarfraz among others though they will only get his service after November 17 as Pakistan decided not to give the NOCs to their centrally contracted players until that period.
‘We are hoping to get Pakistani players after November 18. We may not get Chris Lynn in the start of the tournament but we are expecting to get his service in some part of the tournament,’ said Titans manager Nafees Iqbal.
England’s hard-hitting wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler has already arrived in Bangladesh to play his maiden BPL Twenty20 for Comilla Victorians although the team will miss their Pakistani fresh recruits Hassan Ali, Fahim Ashraf and Fakhar Zaman in the initial part of the tournament.
Chittagong Vikings included former Kiwi batsman Ronchi who will be part of the team for the entire tournament, confirmed their team official.
Chittagong opener Anamul Haque was very excited to play against so many top players in the tournament.
‘I’m very excited with the upcoming BPL. We can learn a lot from the foreign players and it is also a great feeling to share the same dressing room with some of them,’ he said.
The fifth edition of the BPL will get underway from November 4 at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium as home side Sylhet Sixers will play against the defending champions Dhaka Dynamites in the tournament opener.
-With New Age input