Pakistan star all-rounder Shahid Afridi fetched whopping $700,000 – the highest bid in auction – as he was sold to Dhaka Gladiators in auction of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) held in Dhaka on January 19. The West Indies destructive opener Chris Gayle, despite the fact he will be available for only 2 games, was also successfully bid at $551,000 by Barisal Burners.

The Boom Boom heads to Dhaka for his Twenty20 expertise. (Photo: REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro)

Four different franchises fought in bidding for Shahid Afridi on tie-breaker at $500,000 as it turned out Dhaka wanted him most but he is likely to not be available for majority of the tournament. BPL starts on February 9 and ends on February 29. Afridi will be part of Pakistan’s limited-over squad in UAE for matches against Afghanistan and England, which are from February 10 to 27. All he will be able to play is first match, if Dhaka gets any before February 10 as schedule is yet to be released, and the final, if Dhaka qualifies. This amount ($700,000) is more than he [Afridi] got in auction of IPL-1 in 2008. He was purchased by Deccan Chargers at $675,000 before IPL-1.

Auction format

Player-auction for Bangladesh Premier League took place in Raddison Blu Water Garden Hotel, Dhaka. Players from across the globe went under hammer. Six Franchises were up to pick from 180-odd players. Each franchise had maximum purse of $2 Millions to be spent on players, the franchises could pick maximum of 8 foreign players in their pools with at least 1 player from associate countries. Maximum 5 imported players can be part of playing XI.

Tournament schedule

Complete schedule of the league is yet to be announced but it will start on February 9 and final will be played on February 29. All the six franchises – Barisal Burners, Chittagong Kings, Khulna Royal Bengal, Dhaka Gladiators, Duronto Rajshahi, Sylhet Royals – are likely to go head-to-head twice in round-robin stage with top four qualifying for the knock-out stage. 33 matches, to be played during the event, will be staged at two major venues of Bangladesh – Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium Mirpur (Dhaka) and Zohur Ahmad Ch. Stadium Chittagong.

Notable Pakistan players in the event

Shoaib Malik turned out be second highest bade player from Pakistan as he was purchased at $150,000 by Chittagong Kings, who also pocketed Nasir Jamshed at $100,000. Saeed Ajmal and Rana Naveed were taken by Dhaka Gladiators at $100,000 each whereas Kamran Akmal and Sohail Tanvir went to Sylhet Royals also at $100,000 each. All rounder Abdul Razzaq also managed bid of $100,000 to go to Duronto Rajshahi. Barisal Burners showed interest in Yasir Arafat as they purchased him at $80,000. Imran Nazir ($85,000) also managed a bid by Dhaka Gladiators.

Some other Pakistan player are: Ahmad Shahzad, Ramiz Raja (Jr.) in Barsinal Burners. Fawad Alam, Mohammad Sami, Qaiser Abbas in Duronto Rajshahi. Faisal Iqbal in Sylhet Royals.

Notable international players

West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels surprised everyone by getting purchased at $360,000 by Duronto Rajshahi. Other notable bids during auction were Kierren Pollard going to Dhaka Gladiators for $300,000, Dwayne Bravo ($150,000) and Muttiah Muralitharan ($100,000) to Chittagong Kings, Brad Hodge for $140,000 to Barisal Burners, Sanath Jaysuriya for $110,000 to Khulna Royal Bengal, Andre Russel ($85,000) and Imran Tahir ($50,000) to Duronto Rajshahi.

Bangladesh players

Despite being kingpins to their homes, Bangaldesh players relatively fetched low prices. Nasir Hossain, emerging Bangladesh player, earned bid of $200,000 by Khulna Royal Bengal whereas Mahmudullah Riyad ($110,000) and Abdur Razzaq ($65,000) were grabbed by Chittagong Kings. Junaid Siddique ($70,000), Imrul Kaes ($50,000) and Mashrafee Murtaza ($45,000) went to Duronto Rajshahi, Sylhet Royals and Dhaka Gladiators respectively.

Icon players: Shahriar Nafees (Barisal Burners), Tamim Iqbal (Chittagong Kings), Mohammad Ashraful (Dhaka Gladiators), Shakib Al-Hassan (Khulna Royal Bengal), Mushfiqur Rahim (Duronto Rajshahi) and Alok Kapali (Sylhet Royals) were not put in auction as they were kept as icon players to represent specific franchises, mainly associated with their native regions. They will be paid more than “the highest bid of player” in their respective squads. For Example, Ashraful will get more than $700,000, which is highest bid achieved by Shahid Afridi, a player of Ashraful’s team.

Unsold players

Various international players faced the embarrassment of going unsold during the auction. Some prominent players were:  Scott Styris, Graham Onions, Azhar Mahmood, Jerome Taylor, Danish Kaneria, Adnan Akmal.

Broadcasting Channels

The event will be broadcast either on ESPN or Ten Sports and Channel 9, a new Bangladesh TV Channel.

Favourite team

Dhaka Gladiators, with power house of Shahid Afridi, Kieren Pollard, Saeed Ajmal, Mashrafee Murtaza, Mohammad Ashraful, Imran Nazir, Stuart McGill, Elias Sunny and Rana Naveed, looks the most formidable team of the event. If they win it, it will be a possible ticket for entry in Twenty 20 Champions League (CLT20). However, CLT20 are yet to announce the participation of a team from BPL.

PS: There are many other players participating in the event. Each and every player isn’t mentioned in this article.

Pictures from auction [Click for large view]

Shakib Al-Hassan and Shahriar Nafees during auction in Dhaka. (Photo Credit: Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20)


Franchises raising bids during auction. (Photo Credit: Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20)


Auction officials during the auction. (Photo Credit: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

Written and compiled by Mazher Arshad  [ Twitter:!/cricket_U ]