The Dhaka Premier League (DPL) is scheduled to start from March 8, but the glamour and glitz that was once associated with the DPL -- the premier domestic one-day tournament -- seems to have faded over the years and the lack of hype and buzz could also be noted during the players' draft held at a city hotel yesterday.
Additionally, there were no major names swapped between the 12 participating clubs during the draft, which could possibly have ignited a little bit of buzz among reporters present during the event.
Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mosaddek Hossain and Nazmul Hossain Shanto were retained by defending champions Abahani Ltd while Imrul Kayes, Mehedi Hasan and Abu Hider were retained by Gazi Group.
However, the services of some big names like Mahmudullah Riyad, Mustafizur Rahman and Liton Kumar were secured by Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, Shinepukur Cricket Club and Mohammedan Sporting Club respectively.
Defending champions Abahani could be said to have already made a strong case for the upcoming season as they also ensured the services of national ace pacer Rubel Hossain in the very first round of the draft. The team looks compact as Abahani -- to be led by Mashrafe -- later added all-rounder Mehedi Hasan Miraz, batsman Mohammad Mithun and all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin to their arsenal.
The decrease in excitement could be understood by the fact that two national stalwarts, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim, have already asked to be rested for this edition of the premier league and Shakib Al Hasan's uncertainty of featuring are taken into account.
However, according to Kazi Inam Ahmed, the chairman of the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM), although the major attraction towards DPL draws from the participation of national cricketers, but it has to be ensured that the local players are kept in mind.
“The excitement that we get from the participation of national players in the DPL is high but at the same time the premier league is actually a platform for earning livelihood for some players, who are out of the national fold. We need to ensure that the tournament is not delayed from its scheduled time for the national cricketers.”
However, one thing that came as a surprise is when Inam informed that a T20 tournament will be played ahead of this season's DPL.