Chandika Hathurusinghe – ‘Bangladesh doesn’t have a proper T20 tournament’

Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusinghe has hit out at the state of the Bangladesh Premier League, indicating that it has not helped develop T20 cricket in the country.
Hathurusinghe pointed at the lack of local representation in key batting and bowling roles in the BPL, with the teams often relying on their overseas players for big moments. He also said the ICC should step in to ensure there are regulations in place when it comes to players participating in multiple tournaments in the same window.

“We [Bangladesh] don’t have a proper T20 tournament,” Hathurusinghe told ESPNcricinfo. “This sounds very odd. When I am watching the BPL, I sometimes turn off the TV. Some players are not even of the [required] class. I have a big issue with the current system. The ICC need to step in. There has to be some regulations. A player is playing one tournament and then he is playing another tournament. It is like a circus. Players will talk about opportunities, but that’s not right. People will lose interest. I have lost interest.”

Hathurusingha said that the Bangladesh players must be given central roles in the BPL.

“We need to have a tournament where our players can do things like batting in the top three… Bangladesh bowlers bowling in the death,” he said. “Where will we learn these things otherwise? We have only one tournament.”

This season Chattogram Challengers, Sylhet Strikers and Durdanto Dhaka have relied on overseas players for their top three, while Comilla Victorians, Khulna Tigers and Rangpur Riders have used more local players.

When it comes to bowling, Comilla, for example, have 12 bowlers in their squad. At the death, they have used eight overseas bowlers. Khulna and Dhaka too have relied more on overseas bowlers during this period. Chattogram, Rangpur, Barishal and Sylhet have used more local bowlers.

Abu Hider’s five-wicket haul for Rangpur against Fortune Barishal also underlined just how under-utilised local bowlers are. After missing several games, he took five wickets in his second outing.

Khulna called up Jon-Russ Jaggesar, a 37-year-old offspinner from Trinidad and Tobago, whose last competitive game before the BPL appearance was in September 2022. Khulna had spinners Nasum Ahmed, Arif Ahmed and Habibur Rahman in their squad. Left-arm spinners Taijul Islam and Rakibul Hasan played five and two matches respectively for Barishal, who got Keshav Maharaj after he was done with the SA20 stint.

Hathurusinghe said the BCB should organise a separate tournament only for local players before the BPL so they could get more T20 experience.

“My suggestion is that we have another tournament before the BPL,” he said. “The franchises do what they want. Some of the best players are not playing. Then how do you expect the Bangladesh team to be up with the other teams? I am fighting a steep battle.”

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