The Bangladesh Cricket Board announced, on Monday (February 18), that it is launching a domestic Twenty20 tournament from February 25 till March 3. The initiative was taken as part of promoting the shorter version of the game among the local cricketers – their weakest link across formats.
The 12 participating teams of the Dhaka Premier Division Cricket, country’s traditional club-based tournament, will take part in the T20 tournament. The tournament will be played in four groups on league basis during the week-long tournament, with the toppers from each group advancing to the semi-finals.
The two semi-finals are scheduled to be played on March 1, with the final on March 3. The tournament is likely to be named Dhaka Premier League (DPL) Twenty20 Cricket Tournament.
The announcement came after the players’ draft for the upcoming edition of DPL, country’s traditional club-based 50-over tournament, was completed. “We decided to launch the T20 tournament that will be played between the 12 participating teams of DPL,” Kazi Inam Ahmad, Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis chairman, told reporters at the press conference.
“Initially, it will be played on a small scale, so we decided to complete the tournament within a week’s time but in future we will try to hold it in a bigger way,” he said.
According to Inam, the entire initiative was taken as they wanted to make this T20 tournament a breeding hub for the Bangladesh Premier League, country’s franchise-based T20 tournament.
In Bangladesh, there is only one Twenty20 tournament – BPL – while some other Test playing nations have several T20 tournaments and, as a result, their growth in the shorter formats is quite high.
While BPL is dominated by foreign cricketers and some leading major stars of the national set-up, it has hardly been productive in developing local cricketers as most of them are ignored by the franchises. As a result, Bangladesh failed to produce quality T20 players in the last five years despite BPL’s success.
During the last edition of BPL several national cricketers, including Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, urged the importance of a local Twenty20 tournament for developing local talents.
“I think this is the first step forward to take T20 cricket ahead in our country,” said Inam. “For example, there is the Syed Mushtaq tournament in India and a lot of cricketers come to the IPL from there after showcasing their talent in the tournament.
“We want to make this T20 tournament quite similar to it where we can give some potential T20 cricketers a solid platform to show their talent,” he said.
“Unless that platform is prepared, we won’t be able to take our T20 to the next level,” he said. “And that is why this tournament will be played only with local cricketers.
“This year, we are just making the start but I am confident we will be trying to organize it in a larger way from the upcoming seasons.”
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