Wednesday, 29 February 2012

BPL - How not to run a tournament

To put it frankly, the first edition of the Bangladesh Premier League has been a disaster. Problems have ranged from low crowds to officials not knowing their own tournament's rules.

The main problem was the lack of interest from the locals in this tournament. The night games saw larger crowds although on most occasions, only a few thousand attended. This can be linked to a couple of other problems such as the hectic schedule of playing 2 matches every day and the huge traffic jams in Dhaka didn't help but the main problem was the fact that they only used 2 grounds throughout the 33 game tournament. All the matches were played in Dhaka and Chittagong which is why the crowds weren't high as the people of Bangladesh couldn't afford to go to watch these matches every day and instead, could only go to one or two. A solution to this problem is to play matches at smaller grounds like Bogra and Fatullah (which have both held internationals) as the crowds will probably sell out if the BPL was brought there. Not every one in Bangladesh can travel to Dhaka or Chittagong which is why they should have used grounds in other parts of the country so that all people could go to watch. Even if they played just a few matches there then that probably would have seen larger crowds.

Only using 2 grounds was also a major cause for the problem of tired pitches. Dhaka hosted the first 14 matches of the BPL (inside 7 days!). Playing so many matches at the same ground caused the pitches to deteriorate which meant they went from flat to slow and low. You could clearly tell the difference between a new pitch and a used pitch as the scores varied from 90-130 (used) to 170-210 (new) with not many scores in between.
Even T20 superstar Chris Gayle couldn't attract the big crowds.
There wasn't much interest in the BPL in Bangladesh and there also wasn't much interest worldwide. The only reason why some people followed the tournament is because of the international players that were taking part and it meant that no one was actually interested in the performances of the Bangladeshis. Anyway, only 2 young Bangladeshi's had decent tournaments - Mominul Haque and Anamul Haque. The teams were reluctant to try out any youngsters as there was no added incentive (unlike in England and India) and it meant that most of the players that took part were already known as they had already played some international cricket. From a Bangladesh point of view, they hadn't discovered any new talents which is why it was a disappointing tournament for them.

However, the main problem was actually the fact that the BPL officials didn't even know their own rules. Firstly, this farce was started by the BPL, Cricinfo and all cricket websites reporting that Barisal Burners had secured a place in the semis. When the group stage was over, the officials shocked Barisal by claiming that Chittagong had qualified ahead of them and stated that no one read the rules closely enough (with head to head results preffered to net run rate when the points were level). After this controversial incident, Barisal had a lengthy discussion with the officials about their omission and in the end, the decision was overturned with Barisal going through to the semis with the BPL admitting that the rules were earlier misinterpreted. After all that, the correct decision was made but how on earth, they got to this position in the first place is beyond belief.

"The whole world saw how disorganised the tournament was. Definitely there are good things to pick up from the foreign players, but also there are things that have been negative that is going on. Whoever can get out of this with cricket in their mind, will do good in the future." Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh and Duronto Rajshahi captain.

Another problem was the suspected match fixing that happened in this tournament. One Pakistani man was arrested for trying to enter the player's zone after earlier acting suspiciously (phoning Pakistan whenever a 6 was hit) and when they searched his phone, they found the details of Nasir Jamshed and Rana Naved. Apparently, the BPL had been monitoring him for a week before making their move although due to the short nature of this tournament, the fixing would have already been done. They should have went in as soon as possible because by the time they acted, it was too late in the tournament. That Pakistani man, Sajid Khan, later admitted match fixing when questioned by Bangladeshi police. ... nid=224522

The fact that teams were able to bring in new players for the finals made a mockery of the competition as all the players that had done well in the group stage like Kieron Pollard, Darren Stevens and some others had to sit out because Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal walked straight into the team despite playing no matches in the tournament to date. Those 2 players were signed from the start so it didn't seem too bad but players like Awais Zia, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal and Wahab Riaz were bought specifically for the semi finals which in my opinion, shouldn't be allowed. I also believe you should have to stick with the same squad that got you through the group stage with and that it is unfair on the other teams to bring in players just for the finals. Also, to make matters worse - nearly all players (including the overseas stars) haven't been paid yet.

Obviously, this is only the 1st edition of the BPL and there are usually some things to change from the original prototype but this tournament had been ridden with problems from start to finish. Whether the tournament will be back next year, remains to be seen although if it is, then changes will have to be made.

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