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BCB takes charge of next edition of BPL after fallout with team owners

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The next edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) will not be a franchise-run affair and, instead, be owned by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), following a clash between the board and seven of the eight existing team owners, Dhaka Dynamites being the only exception. The update came from Nazmul Hassan, the BCB president, who announced in Dhaka on Wednesday that if franchises were not willing to stick to the rules of the BPL, the board was happy to “take the load of running the BPL” on its own.

“We were supposed to rework the agreements with the franchises this year. We have met them in between, we have had lots of meetings, and they have made a number of demands. But these are in direct conflict with the BPL model we have been working with. It’s not possible to accommodate the demands,” he said. “Some of them don’t want two editions of the BPL in one year [the last one was played in January-February this year, and the next is scheduled to start in December].

“They haven’t said they won’t play, but they don’t want it, because of the pressure of putting it together twice. We have considered everything, and decided to host the next BPL on our own. We won’t have franchises.”

“That’s a joke. It’s the biggest joke in world cricket. Let them try. We have been spending crores to bring the best players from overseas. Let’s see what the BCB do”

Ishtiaque Sadeque, CEO of Rangpur Riders

ESPNcricinfo understands that the big issue was Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh’s premier cricketer, opting to sign up with Rangpur Riders earlier this year from Dhaka Dynamites. As such, the franchises had the option of signing four players from outside the player draft, which made Shakib’s switch, as well as that of other prominent players Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim, fine. But, it is believed, the Dhaka franchise was not happy about losing its star player, and wanted changes in the rules.

“Apart from Dhaka Dynamites, everyone wanted the same thing. Shakib left Dhaka, so they couldn’t accept it, they lost their heads,” Ishtiaque Sadeque, CEO of Rangpur Riders, told ESPNcricinfo. “We all wanted the old rules to stay, that’s all. All of us wanted it, except Dhaka.

“Now the BCB wants to run the BPL like a Dhaka Premier League. That’s a joke. It’s the biggest joke in world cricket. Let them try. We have been spending crores to bring the best players from overseas. Let’s see what the BCB do. Wait and watch.”

Hassan, however, refused to accept that Shakib’s transfer to Rangpur was in accordance with the rules, which have largely been fluid since the tournament began. “You can’t get a player from another team if you suddenly want to. That’s a basic principle. And Shakib knows this better than anyone else. He plays a lot outside Bangladesh. If he suddenly says he won’t play for [Sunrisers] Hyderabad this year and play for Chennai [Super Kings] instead, is that possible? It’s not. But in Bangladesh, all this happens. We will put a stop to that.”

“I can’t say right now if this will be the future. If it’s needed, the BCB will remain in charge. We have a set of rules, and we will outline more rules going forward. If someone wants to join, they can. But no one can join the BPL and then refuse to accept the rules”

Nazmul Hassan, BCB president

The battlelines have clearly been drawn, but Hassan was gung-ho about the BCB running the show, somewhat along the lines of the Australian Big Bash League, where Cricket Australia is the owner of the competition.

“BCB will own all the teams. You can compare it to the Big Bash, it will be the same format,” Hassan said. “The same teams will be there, but the management will be the BCB’s. We will pay all the salaries, we will arrange the hospitality, the travel, everything. I think everyone will be satisfied with this. The team owners who didn’t want to play will also be happy. The ones who were worried about losing money will be even happier. They will save all the money.

“I can’t say right now if this will be the future. If it’s needed, the BCB will remain in charge. We have a set of rules, and we will outline more rules going forward. If someone wants to join, they can. But no one can join the BPL and then refuse to accept the rules.”

Hassan also explained that it was crucial from the BCB’s point of view to host the next edition of the BPL in December-January, because March 17, 2020 is the birth centenary of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation, and BPL would flag off the celebrations.

“We want to begin the celebrations with cricket. We will dedicate this edition of the BPL to Bangabandhu,” Hassan said. “It will be called the Bangabandhu BPL, and if a sponsor comes along, that name will be added to the title.

“We are happy to have team sponsors. The names might change depending on what the sponsors want. We will try to maintain some logic – Dhaka, Khulna, Chattogram, these names will stay. And if the teams, because they have sponsors, want to buy foreign players directly, that’s up to them. If someone wants to bring an expensive coach, they can. The sponsors must be kept happy too.”



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Zimbabwe series will be Mashrafe Mortaza’s last as captain – BCB president

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BCB president Nazmul Hassan has said the upcoming three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe will be Mashrafe Mortaza‘s last assignment as Bangladesh captain. He said that a new captain will be named “within a month” as Bangladesh plan the road ahead for the 2023 World Cup.

Hassan also said that the board will be “lenient” on the 36-year old Mortaza’s fitness levels in the lead-up to the ODI series against Zimbabwe, which begins with the first match in Sylhet on March 1. However, after the home series against Zimbabwe, Mortaza’s place in the squad will depend upon his form and fitness, according to Hassan.

“We have started to stress on beep tests so Mashrafe may not pass the beep tests, so we can drop him if he doesn’t pass it,” he said. “We also have to keep it in mind that Mashrafe’s leadership was vital in the turnaround in Bangladesh cricket. But, the time has come for him to decide how long he wants to play. I think Mashrafe will play the ODI series against Zimbabwe, pending fitness. We will be lenient about his fitness. But very soon, we have to decide on the team and captain for the next World Cup. We don’t have much time. We will take our decision after this ODI series.”

Hassan said that Mortaza had agreed on a retirement match at home during the 2019 World Cup, but the captain later changed his mind. Earlier in January this year, Mortaza had said that he will keep playing as long as he is enjoying the game, and not retiring just because the BCB president has said that they would throw a big party.

Before Bangladesh travel to Pakistan for a solitary ODI on April 3, the BCB is likely to name the new captain.

“Retirement depends on individual players,” Hassan said. “We know that top players retire on their own will. We also wanted to give him a good send-off. He can play if he wants to, but I am more concerned about the captaincy. Once we declare on the captaincy, he can enter the team on his performance.

“When I spoke to him during the World Cup, we discussed that if we can arrange a home ODI, he will retire. After returning, he changed his mind. And then he also said that he doesn’t want a send-off. He never told me. I saw it in the media. We have taken a month or a month and a half to decide our next ODI captain.”

Hassan was also critical of the Test side, saying he wasn’t hopeful of Bangladesh beating Zimbabwe in the one-off Test. After holding a meeting with the Test side on Wednesday, Hassan addressed the media.

“I have been seeing in the media in the last few days that things will be great after beating Zimbabwe. I don’t see it happening,” he said. “I have no hope. I told them, if you take them lightly, it will be a big disaster. Zimbabwe is where Zimbabwe was. We are not where we were. They have recently performed better than us.

“If someone asks me what was Bangladesh’s worst performance at home, I’d say losing to Afghanistan. It was unacceptable. If we lose to Afghanistan, we can lose to Zimbabwe. We need to have a new mindset. Our seniors must take the major responsibilities, and it has to be a team game.”

Hassan slammed the T20I side for losing 2-0 in Pakistan. He also called the Test captain Mominul Haque as “soft” and “shy”, and someone who would need help from senior pros like Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim.

“I told them that it was unacceptable to lose to Pakistan in the T20Is,” he said. “Nobody would say that we played poorly in India, but I told them that I didn’t like their approach and mindset in the Pakistan T20I series. I spoke to them about these things, ones that I had mentioned in the media but I wasn’t finding time to speak to the players. I reinforced that we are almost unbeatable at home, and we must beat at least four or five teams in their home conditions.

“I told them, ‘don’t take Zimbabwe lightly’. We must work in a planned way. Mominul is new, plus he is quite shy. Soft. I told Tamim and Mushfiq must be involved fully to charge up the team.”

In a bizarre twist, Hassan also informed the media that he had ordered the Bangladesh players and management that they would have to inform him of the playing XI, down to the batting line-up, before the game.

“I want to know the game plan on the day before the game, and the playing XI,” he said. “Why? It started from the World Cup and then the Afghanistan series, there is a total change; nothing has happened the way I expected. Those who had never played in the top order were given those roles. It was experimentation. In Pakistan too, what was told to me didn’t happen.

“I have told them that they have to give me the batting sequence and cannot drop a player in one game and then pick him again. I understand that they want to try a few boys. Our coach, who is relatively new, wants to see the fast bowlers. But whatever happens, they have to let me know in advance.”



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USA allrounder Nisarg Patel banned from bowling due to suspect action

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Nisarg Patel, the USA allrounder, has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect after an independent assessment found his action to be illegal.

Patel, a left-arm spinner, was reported after his side’s ODI against Oman on February 11 in Kathmandu. He bowled seven overs in the game, returning figures of 0 for 37.

An assessment was then carried out by an expert panel, as per clause 4.7 of the ICC’s illegal bowling regulations, which concluded that Patel’s bowling action was above the permitted 15-degree level. His suspension will remain in place until he undertakes a review of his action by the ICC’s expert panel, or is cleared by an ICC testing centre.

It is possible that Patel will continue to be picked as a batsman alone. While he averages just 20.28 in ODIs, he made a maiden half-century in the game against Oman earlier in the month from only 32 balls, USA’s fastest ODI fifty.



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Dimuth Karunaratne back as captain, Niroshan Dickwella recalled for West Indies ODIs

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As many as ten players opted out of Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan last year, the last time they played ODI cricket, and Sri Lanka have included many of them in a strong squad led by Dimuth Karunaratne, who was one of the players to withdraw, for the three-ODI series against West Indies starting Saturday.

The 15-man squad also sees the return of Niroshan Dickwella, who last played an ODI in March 2019 before being dropped for the home games against Bangladesh in July. He also chose not to travel to Pakistan, as did Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews, all now back in the squad.

The seam bowling attack for the series comprises of Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara and Isuru Udana, but is without senior bowler Suranga Lakmal, who played in the World Cup last year, but has been omitted from ODIs since. There were no surprises on the spin front: Wanindu Hasaranga, who impressed in Pakistan, and Lakshan Sandakan, are the frontline options. The offspin of De Silva is also there as support. Dasun Shanaka and Mathews are the secondary seam bowling options.

Opener Danushka Gunathilaka, meanwhile, missed out on selection due to injury, with the selectors instead going with Shehan Jayasuriya.

Lahiru Thirimanne had led Sri Lanka in the ODIs in Pakistan, but he was dropped for the upcoming games after scoring 36 and 0 in the two completed games in Karachi, both of which Sri Lanka lost.

Minod Bhanuka, Oshada Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Angelo Perera were some of the younger players who made the trip to Pakistan but missed out this time, with the return of the high-profile players.

The three ODIs will be played on February 22 and 26 and March 1 in Colombo, Hambantota and Pallekele respectively, before the teams contest two T20Is.

Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara



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