Sports desk,Jan 20: Cricket frenzy hits the fever pitch once again with the much-anticipated Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20, a six-team tournament, which rolls onto the ground on Friday after two years.
The eighth edition of the tournament will kick off with the match between Chattogram Challengers and Fortune Barishal at 1.30 PM. Khulna Tigers will take on Minister Group Dhaka in the other match of the day at 6.30 PM.
Gazi TV and T Sports will telecast those two matches live from the stadium.
Comilla Victorians and the Sylhet Sunrisers are the other two teams of the cash-rich tournament.
Both of the matches will be hosted by Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium (SNCS). Two matches will be held every day. Apart from SBNCS, Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium (ZACS), Chattogram and Sylhet International Cricket Stadium (SICS) are the other two venues for the tournament.
Due to the Covid-19, the BCB couldn’t organize the tournament for the last two years. This year also the tournament is being held amid the rise of the new variant (Omicron) of Coronavirus. But as the BCB is experienced enough to run a tournament and International series amid the threat of Covid-19, they are confident to complete the BPL without any problem.
Before the players, support staff and other stakeholders of the six franchisees enter into the bio-bubble, BCB medical team conducted frequent tests and some of the players and officials were found positive. They were taken into isolation. The medical team will keep testing on a frequent basis in a bid to drive out any risk.
BBS Cables this year was named title sponsor of the BPL, powered by Walton. A total of 34 matches will be held including the playoffs and final in 27 days. The champion team will get BDT 1crore while the runners-up will be awarded with BDT 50 lac.
Even though the BPL almost coincides with PSL, the tournament still got big T20 names like Andre Russell, Faf Du Plessi, Moeen Ali, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle and some other promising overseas players, which was the testament of the brand value of BPL.
But there are still some loopholes, among which the absence of DRS is prominent. The players and officials though didn’t show any concern about it, at least in public.
The BPL however will be held in empty stadium, considering the rise of the Coronavirus in the country. BPL secretary Ismail Haider Mallick said they will strike a long term deal with the franchisees after this BPL.
“The next BPL will be the proper way as we’ll strike a long term deal with the franchisees, so that they also could come here with long term plan,” he said today.
Meanwhile all of the four teams which will take the field tomorrow were keen to make a good start to the tournament.
“It is important to get a rhythm from the start of the tournament, so we are looking for a good start in the opening game,” Minister Group Dhaka captain Mahmudullah Riyad said.
Fortune Barishal captain Shakib Al Hasan wants to play as a team.
“There is no pressure even though we know all of the six teams are equal as far as the strength of the team is concerned. We want to play as a unit throughout the tournament,” he added.
Chattogram Challengers captain Mehidy Hasan Miraz said he would try to handle the captaincy responsibility astutely.
“We have a balanced team and I hope we’ll get a desired result. As a captain I want to create an example,” he added.
Khulna Tigers captain Mushfiqur Rahim however wants to lead from the front.
“Last year, we were so close to win the title but we couldn’t. This year we’ll try to get the elusive trophy. Hopefully we can rise on the occasion and make the tournament memorable for us,” he remarked.