Bangladesh Premier League: Shakib Al Hasan laments mandatory legspinners rule

Sport360 staff 00:07 20/10/2019
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Shakib is a reliable performer. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Wrist-spinners, with their knack for wickets, their variations and their guile make themselves invaluable in T20s. In the past five years, nine of the 15 most successful T20I bowlers are wrist spinners.

No wonder teams are desperately trying to find one for their squad before the ICC T20 World Cup next year in Australia.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have come up with a strange strategy to find their very own Rashid Khan. Just as the Indian Premier League has helped India identify young talents, the BCB is trying to twist rules of its own T20 league to unearth a leg-spinner.

According to the new rules of the Bangladesh Premier League, each of the seven teams for the upcoming season of the T20 tournament must have an overseas quick bowler who bowls above 140kph and a leg-spinner, who has to bowl four overs in each game.

This hasn’t gone down well with one of the finest cricketers Bangladesh has ever produced – Shakib Al Hasan – the most successful T20I bowler outside the spectrum of wrist-spinners, picking up 48 wickets in the past five years.

The all-rounder believes that the BPL isn’t a tournament to develop players and that with only a robust first-class structure can talented players emerge.

“I think that legspinners should bowl a lot of overs in first-class cricket to gain confidence and consistency,” Shakib told the Bengali daily Samakal.

“The BPL is an international-standard competitive tournament where you will face scenarios that you are likely to face in international cricket. You share the dressing room with overseas cricketers. It is not the place to make a player.

“For so many years we couldn’t select a legspinner for the senior team, but suddenly we made plans to include seven legspinners in the BPL. This decision does come as a bit of a surprise, but I would still state that the board has taken a decision that it thinks is good.”

The 32-year-old also weighed in on the poor remuneration for the domestic players and that the players are “being suppressed”.

“[First-class match fees] is very unacceptable,” Shakib said. “It is a very small amount for a cricketer to maintain the minimum standard of living in Bangladesh. Things are getting costlier. Government officers get increments every year, but we see that it is same for us every time. It even gets reduced. BPL and DPL are big examples of this.

“I always get a feeling that cricketers in our country are being suppressed. This is not right. Everyone should have equal opportunity. A player should be left to earn what he feels he deserves. If the team doesn’t want to take the player at that payment, the player will deal with it. But to stop him from [freely naming his price] is not right.

“If the decision-makers don’t think that they need to sit with us, then we don’t have much to do. I think that discussion with players or a group of players will help cricket’s development.

“But I am glad that they are focused on cricket development. Like, the concern shown towards fitness, although they could have announced it earlier. Papon bhai (Nazmul Hassan, the BCB president) did say that fitness tests will become tougher but they will announce it earlier.”

The upcoming edition of the BPL will not be a franchise-run affair and, instead, be owned by the BCB. This is due to a clash between the board and six of the seven existing team owners, Dhaka Dynamites being the only exception.

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