BPL T20 franchise Barisal Bulls have been ruled out from participating in this year’s tournament.
The BPL governing council in a meeting on Wednesday afternoon took the decision to turn the fifth edition of the tournament into a seven-side affair after Barisal failed to meet the financial terms with the BPL GC.
Given that the other seven teams had confirmed their respective icon players, left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman as the No 8 icon cricketer of the tournament was set to play for Barisal this season.
However, with a change in the current scenario, Mustafizur will now be put up in the players’ draft, scheduled to take place on September 16.
With the inclusion of Sylhet Surma Sixers as the newest franchise, the money-spinning T20 league this year will have seven teams competing for the title.
“At a meeting [Wednesday] we decided that Barisal Bulls will not be participating in the 2017 BPL. They didn’t meet the BPL’s financial terms and conditions. The tournament will now have seven teams,” said BPL GC chairman Afzalur Rahman Sinha.
It is understood that in order to meet the local cricketers’ retain policy, Sylhet as the newest team to join the competition will be given the advantage of picking three local cricketers before going into the draft.
However, Mustufizur will not be kept as an option for Sylhet to recruit.
To justify that a team will not walk into the draft with two icon cricketers, Mustafizur will only be available for grab during the draft.
Barisal’s removal will also mean the side’s likely retainees - batsman Shahriar Nafees, pacer Al Amin Hossain and spinner Taijul Islam - will be available for selection by the other franchises.
Sinha following the meeting informed that Barisal franchise owner, Axiom Technologies, failed to meet the financial terms with the board, and thus the decision to put the side out for the season.
“Barisal franchise have not been able to meet the financial terms with the BPL GC due to which we have decided to hold the tournament without Barisal this year. I would like to clear one thing and that is there is no financial dispute with Barisal Bulls. The franchise have no pending payment to BPL GC or the players. It is just that they were not being able to meeting the deadline for the terms for the upcoming season,” said Sinha.
It is learnt that the Barisal franchise were hit with severe financial crisis after their former chairman Rizwan bin Farooq got banned by the BCB, in April 2016, because of his involvement in an altercation following the conclusion of the Asia Cup final at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in March.
Barisal co-owner and BCB director Abdul Awal Chowdhury Bulu took charge of the team but was struggling to meet the expenses.
Meanwhile, BPL GC member secretary Ismail Haider Mallick informed that there is no option to change the decision of allowing five overseas cricketers in the playing XI.
The BPL GC based on the opinion from the teams decided to allow maximum five foreign cricketers in starting XI for the season.
“Based on the decision, all the teams have already signed enough foreign cricketers for the season. It is unfortunate that the tournament will have seven teams this season but there is no option now to change the foreign players’ policy at this point,” Mallick explained.
The fifth edition of the tournament is scheduled to begin on November 2.
Bearing in mind the decrease in number of participating teams, matches in the tournament will reduce as well.
As of now, the BPL GC is mulling holding the tournament in three venues - Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet.
A decision on Sylhet as a host of the tournament is however, still pending.