No Pakistanis, no problem
BPL franchisees sing to the same tuneStaff Correspondent
Amid looming threats of Pakistani players pulling out from the Bangladesh Premier League, the franchisees of the Twenty20 competition said life without their service will not be as difficult as it may seem.
A total of 57 Pakistani cricketers were put up in BPL’s players’ auction for the second edition while 25 of them were chosen by different franchisees for the tournament.
Pakistan Cricket Board refused to link up the BPL issue with Bangladesh’s decision not to tour their troublesome country, but at the same time said they will see the ‘commitments and engagements’ of the players before releasing them for the tournament.
This was viewed as a direct threat, though some franchisees are still confident that the Pakistanis would come. Most of the franchisees, however, said there are ready to fill up the void, if any, with the players from the other countries.
Last years’ runners-up Barisal Burners will be one of the worst affected sides after picking up Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Kamran Akmal and Hammad Azam in the auction.
‘We will go for other players and we hope to bring a better replacement if they don’t come,’ said Tuhin Reza, director of Barisal Burners.
‘We have got three other overseas players for us in Azhar Mahmood, Brad Hodge and Phil Mustard,’ said Tuhin.
‘We need to get two more to fill the quota of five foreign players that can be fielded in each game. If required we are confident to get those players from Sri Lanka, Australia and England,’ he said.
Though Azhar is a Pakistani player, Burners are confident of getting his service as the all-rounder holds a British passport, something which also enabled him to play in the Indian Premier League last season.
Meanwhile, Sylhet Royals admitted that it will create some sort of problem as their plan in the auction revolved around the Pakistanis, but they also insisted if Pakistan officially declare a BPL boycott they have still time to recover.
Pakistani Azim Ghooman, Zulfiqur Babar, Babar Azam and Sohel Ahmed were set to play for Royals, who the franchisees said can be replaced easily with adequate time.
‘We still have not received anything official regarding this from BCB,’ said Ahad Mohammad Bhai, director of Sylhet Royals. ‘We hope the BCB will let us know immediately if there is any development so that we can alter our plans.
‘BPL will move forward even if they are not available and we will bring replacement from other countries,’ said Ahad.
Chittagong Kings seemed not to be hurt by this development as they have only three Pakistanis in their side. Of them they already lost Saeed Anwar Jr to injury and only need to replace Imran Nazir and Wahab Riaz in case of a boycott.
‘We have got only two Pakistani players in our squad now in Imran Nazir and Wahab Riaz,’ said Kings’ director Saker Quader Chowdhury. ‘Saeed Anwar Jr has been ruled out for injury. We have already informed that to the BPL governing council and asked for a replacement.
‘The team balance will not be affected as we have some good players from other countries,’ Saker said.
Khulna Royal Bengals said they are in dark about their six Pakistani cricketers -Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Awaiz Zia, Umar Amin, Ahmed Shehzad and Bilawal Bhatti.Ashfaqur Rahman, a director of Royal Bengals, said they will revise their plan once they get an official confirmation from the BCB.
Faruque Ahmed, advisor Rangpur Riders, however, said that the decision will have a huge impact on their side as they have taken Sharjil Khan, Anwar Ali, Raja Ali Dar and Zoyeb Khan with a plan.
‘It’s too early to say anything but definitely it will have a great impact on my team as I have four Pakistani cricketers. We had taken them with some planning and now if they don’t come everything needs to be started from the scratch.’
Meanwhile, Salim Chowdhury, the owner of holders Dhaka Gladiators said that he is confident that the Pakistanis will come despite the looming threat from PCB.
‘What I understand is that the players of the Pakistani Test team might not be given permission and in that case I am not going to suffer as we have only Shahid Afridi among our major signings from Pakistan,’ said Salim.
Duronto Rajshahi owner Mushfiqur Rahman also echoed the same sentiment and said his team managements have spoken to their Pakistani recruits and they all are interested to come.
Duronto ensured the service of Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Sami, Shahzaib Hasan and Khalid Latif for this edition and the management believes that it won’t hurt them even if they don’t come.
‘If they don’t come I won’t bring any replacement right away as I have full faith on my reserve bench,’ said Mushfiq.
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