The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty 20 Cricket Tournament is set to start from 4 November in Dhaka and the seven franchises are busy signing up foreign players ahead of the player draft.
Former West Indies captain, Daren Sammy, has been picked up by the Rajshahi Rockers. The 32-year-old Saint Lucian was recently dropped by the selection panel of the regional board.
Also picked by Rajshahi, as thei ‘icon’ player, is hometown star, Bangladeshi allrounder Sabbir Rahman. Veteran Pakistani pacer Mohammad Swami will join Sammy and Sabbir.
In 2015, Sammy played with the Rangpur Riders, who placed third, having ended fifth the previous season. Rajshahi is a new team for the 2016 season of the BPL.
In 2013, when he was first drafted by the BPL, then-captain Sammy turned down the Sylhet Royals, opting to play the regional first-class competition, but noting that he was “flattered.”
This year, he is among 10 West Indians in the BPL, including the usual suspects – Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Rusell – along with Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran, and Vincentian teenager, Gidron Pope.
There is no room for ace spinner Sunil Narine, who has gone badly off the boil of late, nor (for the second year in a row) big-hitting allrounder Kieron Pollard.
The league will also feature Pakistani and Sri Lankan stars, such as Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Sohail Tanvir, Imad Wasim, Thisara Perera and Dilshan Munaweera.
The BPL had the third highest average attendance among all cricket leagues with respect to the average crowd per match during the 2015 season. In 2016, the BPL was revealed as the second most followed cricket league in the world, second to the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The 2016 BPL is set to be aired on Flow TV in the Caribbean. The first match will be played at the at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. There will 46 matches, including three play-off games and the final. The final is slated for December 9.