Although it was once a prime cricket competition in the country, the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) has already lost the glamour it was known for and that is why it comes as no surprise that the players' draft for the upcoming season will be held today at a city hotel without any buzz.
The madness which surrounded the player's transfer window in the past has now become folklore to the cricket fraternity, especially after the introduction of the player's draft system which has all but put an end to the traditional and much-cherished event.
Also, gone are the days when the pressure of playing in the country's lone 50-over List A completion was described as so severe that it prepared the players for most situations in international cricket.
However, former national captain Khaled Mahmud, a cricketer during the league's heyday, said that the tournament is still relevant since it is the premier competition to showcase domestic talent and further many of the players' cases for entry to the national team.
“Definitely any tournament would lose its attraction without the presence of the country's leading players. If you wait for the availability of the national players, then it will not be possible to find a slot for the league and we should accept it,” said Mahmud yesterday. “It would be impossible to hold the league if we want to start it after the national players return from New Zealand. It's a worldwide scenario as how many Indian team players get opportunities to play the Ranji Trophy.”
“The absence of national stars, however, creates an opportunity for young players to step up and I still believe this league is a platform where a player can prove his worth,” added Mahmud, who is also the coach of defending champions Abahani.
National team players Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim have already expressed their desire for a break from the league while the injured Shakib Al Hasan still has a slim chance of participating. Meanwhile, a fellow member of the Big Five, ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was retained by Abahani alongside Nazmul Hossain and Mosaddek Hossain.
Due to the unavailability of national cricketers ahead of the ICC World Cup to be held in England from May, the clubs were reluctant to retain many of the Tigers, including Mahmudullah Riyad, who will only be available after April 6.
Mahmud does however expect Mashrafe to be available after two or three matches.