Wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim is at the centre of all attractions as the players’ draft for the sixth edition of Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 tournament is scheduled at a city hotel today.
Mushfiq, who played for Rajshahi Kings in the previous season, was released by the franchise this year, putting him in draft after all backstage negotiations for his signature failed.
Chittagong Vikings, the only franchise without an A+ category player so far, made a last ditch attempt to rope in Mushfiq, but the franchise could not meet his huge asking price, said an official.
As a result, Mushfiq, the most successful Twenty20 batsman for Bangladesh in 2018 with 390 runs in 13 matches at an average of 39, will be put on draft with a price of tag of Tk 75 lakh.
Five A+ players – Mashrafee bin Murtaza, Sakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mustafizur Rahman and Mahmudullah have been retained by their old franchises while Liton Das moved from Comilla Victorians to Sylhet Sixers.
The draft, which will start at 11:00am, will complete the line-up of all seven franchises with each allowed to take maximum 12 local players and nine foreign players, including retain players and direct recruits.
Under a revised rule, franchises were given a chance to recruit only two foreign players directly this season and all of them had completed the process before the draft.
Defending champions Rangpur Riders recruited star South African batsman AB de Villiers and England opener Alex Hales, who had refused to visit Bangladesh with the national team in 2016, citing security concerns.
Sylhet Sixers sprung a surprise when they announced to get the signature of tainted Aussie opener David Warner, who is currently serving a 12-month ban from international and state cricket for his role in a ball-tampering scandal during a Test South Africa in March.
Some star cricketers like Chris Gayel, Sunil Narine and Shoaib Malik were retained by their previous franchises, dragging them out of draft, which took the some of the gloss of draft off.
However, the draft will have still enough attraction with a number of star foreign players making them available for the tournament, scheduled between January 5 to February 8.
The hosts of foreign players, who will be up for grab in the draft, include England’s Luke Wright, Sam Billings, Pakistan’s Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Abbas, Junaid Khan and South Africa’s Imran Tahir.
One of the notable absentee, however, would be Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan who preferred Australia’s Big Bash over BPL as the schedule of the tournament clashed this season.
The draft would mark the return of former Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful, who was put in B category with a price tag of Tk 18 lakh after his five-year ban for match-fixing in the second edition of the tournament.
A total of 186 local players and 365 foreign players have been bracketed in six categories for the draft.
The price tags for the local players are A+ Tk 75 lakh, A Tk 25 lakh, B Tk 18 lakh, C Tk 12 lakh, D Tk 8 lakh and E Tk 5 lakh.
Dhaka Dynamites: Sakib al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Rovman Powell, Kieron Pollard (retained), Andre Russell, Hazratullah Zazai (direct recruit)
Khulna Titans: Mahmudullah, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Hossain, Carlos Brathwaite (retained), David Malan, Ali Khan (direct recruit)
Comilla Victorians: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Saifuddin, Shoaib Malik (retained), Liam Dawson, Asela Gunaratne (direct recruit)
Rajshahi Kings: Mominul Haque, Mehedi Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Zakir Hasan (retained), Christiaan Jonker, Qais Ahmad (direct recruit)
Sylhet Sixers: Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Sohail Tanvir, Liton Das (retained), David Warner, Sandeep Lamichhane (direct recruit)
Rangpur Riders: Mashrafee bin Murtaza, Nazmul Islam, Mohammad Mithun, Chris Gayle (retained), AB de Villiers, Alex Hales (direct recruit)
Chittagong Vikings: Luke Ronchi, Najibullah Jadran, Sunjamul Islam, Sikandar Raza (retained), Mohammad Shahzad, Robert Frylinck (direct recruit)
Source: New Age.