The special edition of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), named Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League T20 2019, is less than 48 hours away. All the teams are yet to announce their skippers, the jerseys of the teams have not been unveiled also. There is a lot of dubiousness regarding new rules and their application.
One of the new rules to be introduced this season is that every team must have a leg-spinner and a fast bowler who bowls above 140 kilometres per hour (kph). But, the fact remains, there are not many of these two kinds in the local arena. Some of the teams, sought solutions from abroad.
Among the seven teams, only Dhaka Platoon, Khulna Tigers and Rajshahi Royals have ticked all their boxes. Dhaka have Wahab Riaz and Shaheed Afridi, Khulna have Aminul Islam and Mohammad Amir and Rajshahi have Minhajul Abedin Afridi and Mohammad Irfan. Rest did not register a fast bowler (140+) or a leggie.
Even though BCB chief selector Minhazul Abedin said that they are looking at this BPL as an opportunity to cover up the lacking of the national team, it is, after all, a competitive tournament and every team will look to win.
Former national captain Gazi Ashraf Hossain Lipu thinks that this is a good initiative to include leg spinners, but there should be enough resources to choose from.
"The initiative of bringing leg spinners and fast bowlers into play is praiseworthy, but quality leg spinners and fast bowlers must be there to make the initiative work. Even the national team is in a fix when it comes to leg spinners. They found a leg spinner (Aminul Islam), but he too is a makeshift one." Lipu told the Business Standard.
Lipu was skeptical about the new rule and its success. "Success depends on the depth of the planning. For me, there should not be such rules and regulations in a tournament because how will the teams play a leg spinner if they do not manage to find a quality one." he added.
Cumilla Warriors, who are overseen by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), do not have either of them. They have a world-class spinner in Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, but he is an off-spinner. They have registered the Windies paceman Oshane Thomas, but he is yet to receive an NOC.
Rangpur have picked up 17-year old leg-spinner Rishad Hossain, but there is a chance of him being picked for the upcoming U-19 World Cup, which would mean that he will be unavailable in January. Chattogram picked up leg-spinner Jubair Hossain but yet to include any express fast bowler.
However, Lipu believes that the teams will need to follow the rules set by the BCB.
"If it is the board's decision (to have a leg-spinner and a 140+ fast bowler), then the teams will have to follow it. But getting so many quality leg spinners is also not a piece of cake. I think if the teams got assistance to find leg spinners, it would have been easier for them to follow the rules." said Lipu.
Now here comes an argument, what if these special category bowlers fail or perform poorly in the matches? Would the teams bench them or they would have to continue due to the regulations?
Lipu opined that the teams will be in a catch 22, "This is a dilemma for the teams. If the tournament is fully controlled by BCB, then the teams will have to compromise in some areas. All the teams in the tournament will look to win, but they will have to follow the rules as BCB is financing the tournament."
Raqibul Hasan, former national skipper, agreed with Lipu on the fact that the teams will have to follow the rules set by BCB. He believes the board is trying to bridge the gaps that are persistent in the national side.
"Playing a leg-spinner and a fast bowler has been brought in as a condition for every team, so the pressure will obviously be on the teams regarding the leg spinners. As the BPL is BCB's own event, BCB is trying to fill the holes with this. That is why they have brought in these rules. The teams will follow these rules to form their team." Raqibul added.
Regarding the failure of a pacer or leg-spinner, Raqibul said that the BCB will make sure if the teams have enough leg-spinners or not and about them playing on the field. The former national team captain also said that it is not necessary for the fast bowlers to be bowling above 140 kph.
"Look, bowlers bowling over 140 kph might not be available here, it has to be around 140, which means from 130-140 kph. The sole target is to let our batsmen play more and more fast bowlers." said Raqibul.
The BPL kicks off on December 11 at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium at Mirpur.