Franchise based Twenty20 tournament Bangladesh Premier League will not be held this year due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. Instead, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has organized a T20 competition with domestic cricketers, to be held from November 24 to December 18.
The five participating teams of the tournament are Beximco Dhaka, Fortune Barishal, Gazi Group Chattogram, Gemcon Khulna, and Minister Group Rajshahi.
BPL rules will be followed to conduct this T20 tournament. This means all teams will face each other twice in the round-robin league stage to secure a playoff spot. The top two teams from the playoff round will play the championship match on 18th December.
Each day will have double-headers during the round-robin league round. The first match will kick off at 1.30 pm (BST – Bangladesh Standard Time) and the evening match will start at 6.30 pm BST. All matches will take place at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium (SBNCS).
Will the pitch play a role?
Traditionally, the Mirpur pitch is an ideal hunting ground for slower bowlers and spinners. But faster bowlers’ domination in recently ended three-team one-day tournament proves that a spin-heavy bowling attack won’t guarantee success at the SBNCS.
After the players draft on November 12, the squads for each team have been finalized. Let’s analyze the strength of each squad.
1. Beximco Dhaka
Strengths: Captain Mushfiqur Rahim, power-hitter Sabbir Rahman, and limited-over specialist pacer Rubel Hossain are the trump cards for the Dhaka side. With five pacers and three spinners in the squad, they have enough variations in bowling.
Weaknesses: Overall, this squad lacks the experience it takes to win a tournament. The fact that Captain Mushfiqur Rahim is yet to win a BPL title will add extra pressure on him.
Opportunities: The Under19 World Cup-winning Captain Akbar Ali and young opener Tanzid Hasan Tamim will get plenty of opportunities to showcase their talents on the big stage.
Threat: Beximco Dhaka rely heavily on their star players. Mushfiqur and Sabbir combine have scored 6,297 T20 runs, which is 74.73% of total career runs (8,427) of Dhaka squad. Rubel Hossain has 137 T20 wickets to his name. This means they could struggle to qualify for the playoffs if their main players struggle to find form.
Squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Mohammad Naim, Sabbir Rahman, Yasir Ali, Muktar Ali, Akbar Ali, Nayeem Hasan, Abu Hider Rony, Rubel Hossain, Mehedi Hasan Rana, Nasum Ahmed, Shahadat Hossain, Shafiqul Islam, Pinak Ghosh, Robiul Islam Robi
Strengths: Their bowling lineup is solid and has a variation. Taskin Ahmed and Sumon Khan were among the top wicket-takers in BCB President’s Cup tournament. Alongside, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Afif Hossain, and Aminul Biplob are good spin options to rein in the opposing batsmen during the middle overs.
In batting, Captain Tamim Iqbal, young sensation Afif Hossain, and in-form Irfan Sukkur, who was the best batsman of BCB President’s Cup, could make the difference for the Barishal side.
Weaknesses: Barishal don’t have enough power hitters down the order.
Opportunities: Leg spinner Aminul Islam Biplob has played for the Bangladesh national side, and can reaffirm his place if he performs well.
Threats: The top order has to take maximum responsibility for Fortune Barishal. And if skipper Tamim (usually does the anchor role) fails to give them a start, they may struggle in batting. Vastly experienced Tamim has made 5,849 T20 runs, which is 66.90% of total career runs of entire Barishal squad.
Tamim Iqbal wasn't entirely happy with the squad and considers they did mistakes while selecting players from the draft. “There's no doubt we have made some mistakes in the draft but cricket is a game of uncertainty,” he said. He also believes Barishal have to think out of the box to get success in this tournament.
Squad: Tamim Iqbal (c), Parvez Hossain Emon, Towhid Hridoy, Afif Hossain, Irfan Sukkur, Mahidul Islam Ankon, Mehidy Hasan, Aminul Islam Biplob, Sumon Khan, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Jayed, Tanvir Islam, Saif Hassan, Suhrawadi Shuvo, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Abu Sayeem
Gazi Group Chattogram
Strengths: Chattogram have some prolific hitters from Bangladesh. Liton, Soumya, Ziaur Rahman, Mosaddek all are well-known big hitters. To add to that, they have technical batsmen like Mominul Haque and Mohammad Mithun. We may witness some high scoring matches during their fixture.
Weaknesses: They lack quality pacers in the squad. Their limited fast bowling options could become a concern since pacers have done well at the Mirpur ground lately
Opportunities: Captain Mohammad Mithun will get a chance to display his leadership skill to the selectors, which could mean he leads with more vigor.
Threats: If pacer Mustafizur Rahman struggles to find his usual rhythm, the team could struggle to contain the opposing batsmen, especially during the death overs.
Squad: Mohammad Mithun (c), Liton Das, Shamsur Rahman Shuvo, Mominul Haque, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Soumya Sarkar, Ziaur Rahman, Nahidul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Rakibul Hasan, Mehedi Hasan, Sanjit Saha, Shykat Ali, Shariful Islam
Strength: Khulna have the strongest squad in the tournament as Bangladesh’s T20 skipper Mahmudullah Riyad and Shakib Al Hasan will be playing for Gemcon Khulna. This will be Shakib’s first tournament after serving one year ban by ICC. They also have a good back up players in all departments.
Shakib has picked up sixth most 354 wickets and made more than 4,000 runs in the T20 format. He also won several domestic T20 competitions in different parts of the world. This would certainly help team Khulna to bid for the trophy.
Weakness: In comparison to other teams they don’t have any major weakness.
Opportunity: Shakib will get an opportunity to make himself fully fit ahead of the Windies series in January.
Threat: Khulna might have a problem if Shakib finds it difficult to get his rhythm back.
Squad: Mahmudullah (c), Imrul Kayes, Anamul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Zakir Hasan, Ariful Haque, Shuvagata Hom, Shafiul Islam, Nazmul Islam Apu, Hasan Mahmud, Al-Amin Hossain, Rishad Hossain, Jahurul Islam, Salman Hossain, Shahidul Islam, Shamim Hossain
Minister Group Rajshahi
Strengths: Rajshahi have included players who have good records in the domestic circuit. Mohammad Ashraful is their star attraction. Farhad Reza, Arafat Sunny, Sunzamul Islam and Nurul Hasan Sohan and Raqibul Hasan are also well-known in the domestic arena.
Mohammad Saifuddin has become a genuine all-rounder over the last one year and he is an important player for Bangladesh’s limited-over sides.
Former Bangladesh international all-rounder Farhad Reza won several domestic T20 competitions including BPL season 7 with Rajshahi Royals. Left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny has taken more than 100 T20 wickets, and is effective on slow tracks.
Weaknesses: They don’t have enough quality pacers in the squad.
Opportunities: Batsman Mohammad Ashraful will get another chance to prove his ability to the selectors.
Threats: The lack of athleticism on the field could be an issue for team Rajshahi as most of their key players are above 30.
Squad: Najmul Hossain Shanto (c), Rony Talukdar, Mohammad Ashraful, Fazle Mahmud Rabbi, Nurul Hasan, Mahedi Hasan, Farhad Reza, Mohammad Saifuddin, Sunzamul Islam, Arafat Sunny, Ebadot Hossain, Jaker Ali, Raqibul Hasan, Mukidul Islam, Anisul Islam Emon, Rejaur Rahman Raja.