Once the most coveted domestic competition, the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) is all set to roll into action today with a warm-up T20 competition at two different venues before the 50-over fray among 12 clubs begins. T20 cricket is now the most popular format all over the world because of its commercial appeal but it is highly unlikely that this DPL T20 will make any buzz; it will instead work only as a warm-up event for the players before the main competition.
The days are long gone when the country's cricket fraternity eagerly awaited this league as it has gradually lost its charm for many reasons. It now remains to be seen whether there is any scope to bring back those heydays. Reality has changed drastically as the focus has shifted to the national team's participation in international cricket and fans are more interested in franchise-based T20 competition.
Former national captain Gazi Ashraf Hossain however believed that it would be possible to make the DPL an attractive domestic event and that there is also a necessity for the country's cricket to look deeply into the its premier 50-over competition.
“I think still it's possible to bring back those glory days. Yes, you may not get too many spectators at the galleries but it is possible to make it a glamorous event in the domestic calendar. Definitely, the league lost its charm due to a lack of care, so we have to take proper care to make it a good event and here the question is whether we want to do it or not,” said Gazi Ashraf, during whose playing career in the 1980s and early '90s the competition was at its peak of popularity.
“The most important thing is that the players should feel that it's a major tournament for them and they should enjoy the league. I think club officials should come forward, along with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), to change the whole scenario. There is no straightforward recipe but if everybody feels the necessity of the league's resurgence, then a solution must come. It is now a reality that you may not get the services of the national players, but if the club officials can set a high standard for the players by providing good practice facilities and training, the competitiveness will generate good hype,” he added.
Ashraf also suggested for a separate wing of cricket operations committee only to look after the domestic cricket affairs. “We desperately need to good coordination in all domestic competitions and in this regard it's my opinion that we can form a different cricket operations wing to look after the domestic affair only. There is no alternative than give a good shape of the domestic cricket if we want not only to do better in the international cricket but also improve the cricketing culture of the country and here Dhaka League is a very important cog besides first-class competitions,” he opined.
Gazi Ashraf said that while it would not be wise to think about the commercial benefits at this moment, there is a huge scope to make it commercially viable also. “I think the club officials should take big steps forward to make it an attractive event again.”