With the Bangabandhu Cup T20 competition starting on November 24, ESPNcricinfo takes a closer look at the five participating teams.
Gemcon Khulna easily seems to be the best team on paper. There were expectations that each of the five parties would opt for one of Shakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mustafizur Rahman with their first Grade A call, but Khulna landed both Shakib and Mahmudullah after the Group of Ministers Rajshahi elected Mohammad Saifuddin. That has left Khulna with the best intermediate order any team in this tournament could have hoped for.
Khulna’s draft calls were also commendable. After choosing Shakib and Mahmudullah for their middle order, they also selected seasoned starters Imrul Kayes and Anamul Haque. Apart from that, they have the mattress of Ariful Haque and Jahurul Islam; they both did well in the Bangladesh Premier League. Shuvagata Hom, Zakir Hasan, Salman Hossain and U-19 all-rounder Shamim Hossain remain backup options in the hitting department.
Khulna has also chosen two of the most outstanding national T20 bowlers from Bangladesh: Al-Amin Hossain and Shafiul Islam. Hasan Mahmud and Shahidul Islam is likely to be the third close, while left arm spinner Nazmul Islam and spinner Rishad Hossain make up an impressive spin department to go with Shakib.
Potential XI: 1 Imrul Kayes, 2 Anamul Haque, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mahmudullah (capt), 5 Ariful Haque, 6 Shuvagata Hom, 7 Shamim Hossain, 8 Shafiul Islam, 9 Nazmul Islam, 10 Hasan Mahmud, 11 Al-Amin Hossain
Gazi Group Chattogram
Another team with good potential, Gazi Group Chattogram, has several high-quality mid- and upper-level hitters. Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar will lead batting in a lineup followed by Mohammad Mithun, Mosaddek Hossain and veteran Shamsur Rahman. Young Mahmudul Hasan Joy also has all the makings of a strong middle-order presence.
Coach Mohammad Salahuddin opted for a left-arm rhythm attack with Mustafizur as his Grade A pick, as well as U-19 World Cup winner Shoriful Islam and little-known Mehadi Hasan from current U-19 camp. Salahuddin also selected left arm spinners Taijul Islam and Rakibul Hasan, also a U19 World Cup winner, as well as talented affiliate Sanjit Saha.
Potential XI: 1 Liton Das, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Mominul Haque, 4 Mohammad Mithun (capt), 5 Mosaddek Hossain, 6 Shamsur Rahman, 7 Ziaur Rahman, 8 Taijul Islam, 9 Rakibul Hasan, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Shoriful Islam
Coach Khaled Mahmud has opted for a mostly young team for Beximco Dhaka. But by picking Mushfiqur with the first call of the Grade A draft, he has set a hitting lineup in motion that looks exciting and dependable.
Youngsters Tanzid Hasan and Mohammad Naim are scheduled to open, followed by Mushfiqur, Sabbir Rahman and Yasir Ali before a bit of inexperience sets in. Akbar Ali and Shahadat Hossain, both likely to hit in the middle order, will have their jobs cut if Coach Mahmud ends up picking four bowlers. But on the slow field of Shere Bangla National Stadium, secondary player Nayeem Hasan and left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed are essential, while Rubel Hossain has shown good form recently and Mehedi Hasan Rana, quick with his left arm, had a good start in the BPL 2019-20.
The off-roader Muktar Ali and the speedy left-armed Abu Hider are also part of the youth team.
Potential XI: 1 Tanzid Hasan, 2 Mohammad Naim, 3 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 4 Yasir Ali, 5 Sabbir Rahman, 6 Akbar Ali, 7 Shahadat Hossain, 8 Nayeem Hasan, 9 Nasum Ahmed, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Mehedi Hasan Rana
Rajshahi Group Minister
Much will depend on Najmul Hossain Shanto, Nurul Hasan, Mahedi Hasan and Mohammad Saifuddin, who enters the tournament with an ankle injury, for the Rajshahi Ministerial Group to advance in the tournament. They have been in the BCB training camps for the past few months and also looked in good contact during the President’s Cup last month.
But since Rajshahi did not select a single cricketer from the previous U-19 team, his team looks a bit older as they chose veterans Mohammad Ashraful, Raqibul Hasan and Arafat Sunny. All-rounder Fazle Mahmud would be hitting in the middle order alongside goalkeeper Nurul and Jaker Ali, and around off-roaders Farhad Reza and Saifuddin.
Coach Sarwar Imran also opted for seasoned players like left arm spinners Sunny and Sunzamul Islam, with Ebadat Hossain and Mukidul Islam in the rhythm department.
Potential XI: 1 Najmul Hossain Shanto (capt), 2 Rony Talukdar, 3 Mahedi Hasan, 4 Nurul Hasan (week), 5 Fazle Mahmud, 6 Mohammad Saifuddin, 7 Jaker Ali, 8 Farhad Reza, 9 Arafat Sunny, 10 Sunzamul Islam, 11 Ebadat Hossain
Fortune Barisal started out as possibly the weakest team on paper. Despite picking Iqbal on his first call, Barishal went on to take on three more starters. That has left them with few mid-range options and only one SUV. Much will depend on goalie-hitter Irfan Sukkur, who showed decent form during the President’s Cup, as Barisal lacks batting depth after Mehidy Hasan Miraz.
Barisal has chosen Taskin Ahmed and Abu Jayed among its four-step bowlers, as well as left arm spinners Tanvir Islam and Sohrawordi Shuvo, as well as Aminul Islam.
His is still a team with a lot to prove.
Potential XI: 1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Afif Hossain, 3 Saif Hassan, 4 Irfan Sukkur, 5 Towhid Hridoy, 6 Mahidul Islam, 7 Mehedi Hasan Miraz, 8 Sohrawordi Shuvo, 9 Tanvir Islam, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Abu Jayed