In a crowded cricketing calendar, the Bangladesh Premier League has had to battle for space with other, more glamorous competitions. It’s still an entertaining event with some top players, and here is all you need to know about the BPL.
History of the BPL
There had previously been a T20 tournament in Bangladesh and this was known as the National Cricket League Twenty20. Ahead of the 2011 season, the Bangladesh Cricket Board decided that this competition was in need of a revamp.
The Bangladesh Premier League was a title that carried more impact in a world where T20 tournaments were growing. Franchise cricket was the way forward and that’s exactly what the BCB aimed for.
Having secured a major sponsorship deal, along with broadcasting rights, the first edition of the BPL was ready to be run in 2012. That first tournament featured six franchise teams and it was eventually won by the Dhaka Gladiators.
Since then, the Bangladesh Premier League has been held on an annual basis.
The BPL employs an Annual Draft System which helps the teams to complete their squads. Ahead of that draft process, franchises are allowed to sign players on a direct basis.
Any players that remain, who wish to take part in the BPL are then entered into the auction. This works in a similar fashion to the IPL and in similar draft selection processes around the world. There are two separate lists for foreign players and local players, and the individuals put themselves into different price categories.
As their names come up, the franchise teams decide if they want to sign those players and a bidding process begins. Any unsold players at this stage may go into a second round of bidding. The process will continue until all squads have been completed.
Signed players will join up with their teammates in the lead up to the tournament, while those that have been unsold will be waiting to see if anyone withdraws. Otherwise, they will simply have to wait until next year.
In the current competition, seven teams take part in the Bangladesh Premier League. The teams that played in the most recent, 2023 edition of the BPL are:
- Chattogram Challengers
- Comilla Victorians
- Dhaka Dominators
- Fortune Barisal
- Khulna Tigers
- Rangpur Riders
- Sylhet Strikers
Since the tournament began in 2012, different teams have come and gone. Also, while many of those current sides have been involved since the first competition, their names have changed. For example, while there has been a team from Dhaka involved since the start, they have been known as the Gladiators, the Vikings, Platoon and, now, the Dominators.
There is an initial, round robin phase where each team plays each other twice. At the end of that process, the top four teams in the table will progress to the playoffs.
The playoff stage starts with a first qualifier. After that, there is an eliminator match, followed by a second qualifying game. The two surviving teams will then meet in the final.
The concept of a league system followed by a set of playoff games is a popular one and we’ve seen this replicated in other T20 tournaments around the world. When it’s written down as it is here, it may look a little complicated, but it’s really easy to follow and it’s a fair way of deciding which teams make it to the final.
Most Successful Teams
At the end of the 2023 edition of the BPL, the Comilla Victorians had become the most successful team in the history of the competition. The Victorians won their fourth title in that 2023 campaign as they beat the Sylhet Strikers by seven wickets in the final.
Prior to 2023, the Comilla Victorians were locked on three wins with the Dhaka Gladiators.
In the first nine editions of the Bangladesh Premier League, there have been just two further winners of the competition. In 2017, the Ranpur Riders lifted the trophy while the Rajshahi Royals were the winners at the end of the 2019/20 season.
Popular Players in the BPL
The Bangladesh Premier League always tends to include the best players from within the country. We should always expect to see some of the big domestic names such as Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim.
The timing of the BPL can sometimes see clashes between other competitions such as the newly formed T20 league in South Africa. Despite that, the league can still attract top overseas names.
In 2023, some of the big overseas signings included Johnson Charles, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Muhammad Rizwan. Depending on the schedules of teams moving forward, we would expect to see a similar situation in future years. The current overseas intake includes a number of players from the West Indies and Pakistan and, unless the BPL moves its place in the calendar, this trend is likely to continue.
Bangladesh BPL FAQ
Who is the Owner of the BPL?
The Bangladesh Cricket Board are the organisers of the BPL and they currently run and operate the competition.
Ownership of the franchise teams involved in the tournament is open to private investors and they will negotiate to purchase the sides that take part.
What is the Highest Score in the BPL?
The highest team score in the BPL as of 2023 is the 239/4 made by the Rangpur Riders against the Chittagong Vikings in 2019.
The highest score by an individual batter is 146 by Chris Gayle for the Riders against the Dynamites in 2017.
It really has to fight for space on the schedules, but I still like to tune into the Bangladesh Premier League whenever I can. The action is competitive and there will always be some exceptional individual performances.
The struggle to become more widely known across the cricket world shows just how crowded the calendar is and this could be an issue moving forward. In 2023, there were two new Twenty20 competitions introduced and they had an impact on the popularity of the BPL outside of Bangladesh.
There is a brand new tournament originating in the UAE which is the ILT20. Over in South Africa, after experimenting with failed competitions in the past, the SA20 finally proved to be a big hit.
Cricket is obviously seasonal, so it’s difficult for a country such as Bangladesh to change the dates of their main T20 tournament. If they bring it forward, it will clash with the Big Bash, while pushing it back will see the BPL coincide with the Indian Premier League.
It’s an interesting situation, so let’s just hope that the quality of the cricket allows the Bangladesh Premier League to thrive for many years to come.