KOLKATA: Will Mohammed Amir and Mohammed Asif join the ranks of foreign players lining up for the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), set to take off in Dhaka next month?
Going by reports in the local media, the tainted duo might just end up taking their first tentative steps on the road to international rehabilitation via the BPL.
The online edition of Prothom Alo, a leading Bengali daily published from Dhaka, reported on Wednesday that Amir and Asif have sounded out the Bangladesh board about turning out in the league, which will be holding its third edition this year.
The paper also said the local administrators had no objection to their participation provided one of the six franchises wanted them.
“They have approached us,” Prothom Alo quoted BPL Governing Council Member-Secretary Ismail Haider Mallik as saying.
“As ICC has lifted the ban on them, we see no reason why there should be any problem with their playing,” Mallik said.
“The franchises are free to recruit them.”
If Amir and Asif do sign up, they will be beefing up the 53-strong Pakistani line-up in the BPL players’ pool.
Among the marquee names already confirmed are Shahid Afridi, who will turn out for Sylhet Super Stars, and Shoaib Malik, sought out by new addition Comilla Victorians.
The team from Comilla, a district town south of Dhaka, will be mentored by Wasim Akram, according to the report.
Prothom Alo said Pakistan’s representation will be the highest from any country along with England.
They are followed by West Indies with 34 players and Sri Lanka with 25, with the rear being brought up by Zimbabwe (six), Australia and South Africa (four each) and New Zealand (two).
Another 15 will participate from “other countries”: Afghanistan, Scotland, Ireland and Holland. Altogether 196 foreign players will turn out for the various teams.
Afridi is among the “five-six” players who will be paid above the cap of $70,000, Prothom Alo said, quoting Mallik.
The higher payment was necessary in the interest of the league, the official said.
In this year’s edition of the BPL, players will be “allocated” through a lottery-based transfer system called “players-by-choice”.
The new system, earlier tried out in a local league featuring domestic players, will replace the players' auction to bring “balance” to various teams.
Since player allocation will be through lottery, it is highly probable that Asif and Amir, if formally added to the players’ pool, find themselves in the same team.
Going by the readers’ feedback to Prothom Alo, the news does not seem to have had gone down well with the local fans.
Only one reader, going by the name Nirob, took an accommodative approach, saying while it was best to ignore Asif, the younger Amir could be given a second chance.
Most of the other readers were vehemently opposed to either of the two appearing in the league.
Commenting in English, one Mohhamed Shahidul Islam wrote, “No,” while an anonymous reader said, “No, please ... we don’t want any of those culprits in BPL.”
The writer is a Kolkata-based journalist covering the corporate sector and the business of sports.