The BPL was a big success. Photo courtesy Mushfiqur Rahim on Twitter
The BPL was a big success. Photo courtesy Mushfiqur Rahim on Twitter

Bangladeshi cricket suffered a major setback recently when Australia refused to tour their country for the scheduled two-Test series, citing “security concerns” as the primary reason. It was a major blow for the country that had been for long seen as an ideal venue for the sport. The recently-concluded Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2015 however, has helped majorly with the patchwork. Amit Banerjee feels it could serve as a means of restoring confidence in international teams for touring the South Asian country in the future. READ: BPL 2015, Comilla vs Barisal, final: Kapali’s heroic innings and other highlights

Bangladesh has, for the most part, been viewed as a favourable destination for hosting international cricket, with the ICC Knockout competition in 1998 being the first major international cricket tournament to be hosted in the country. Since then, several teams, including the Test-playing nations have toured the country without the occurrence of any worrisome event, other than maybe an upset stomach. Bangladesh’s neighbours too, have played a great deal of cricket here, with the last two Asia Cups being hosted here, and the upcoming edition too slated to be played in the country.

That however, came to a sudden halt in October this year when Australia, who were to tour the country for a two-Test series, sent a security team following reports of international terror group Islamic State (IS) claiming responsibility for the murder of an Italian and a Japanese national in the country. Having sent their security experts to Dhaka and other cities, they finally postponed the tour indefinitely (practically called the series off) after a number of delays. READ: Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2015: Top 5 spells so far

Apart from the embarrassment of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), it was a massive jolt for the local fans, who had been licking their lips in anticipation of the ‘Tigers’ feasting on the Kangaroos after having devoured top-ranked sides such as Pakistan (3-0 ‘Banglawash’), India (2-1) and South Africa (2-1). The team may not perform consistently on the international front (although 2015 clearly has been THEIR year), but fanfare surrounding the Bangladeshi cricket team is one that can rival some of the greatest teams in the world.

Thus, Bangladesh needed something, akin to a major event, in order to reassure the international cricket community of their safety standards. They had to prevent themselves of going the Pakistan way by becoming a no-go zone for international teams, and depriving their local fans the joy of watching a match live in a stadium. Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) was the answer. READ: Bangladesh Premier League 2015: Top 5 matches so far

The event, which had been brought to a halt after its first two editions due to charges of match-fixing and other corruption, could not afford any slights this time, especially when so much was at stake. Players and match officials from all over the world would be arriving, and the BCB, as well as the Bangladesh government, could not afford any loopholes. After 34 matches that took a little under a month’s time, the organisers of Bangladesh’s flagship Twenty20 tournament can look back at pride at the way with which they pulled the show off, with the tournament ultimately ending on a successful note. So much so, that the board officials are actually talking about expanding the tournament in the future, instead of being tight-lipped about it. READ: Mohammad Aamer deserves second chance in cricket, despite critics

The tournament perhaps achieved all of its desired objectives — witness healthy competitions, some big scores and memorable individual performances, the emergence of young Bangladeshi talent, resurgence of dormant international talent and packed houses at the venues. Perhaps, the only drawback of the tournament was the sideline of Pakistani players during its course, which Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq lamented after returning to his homeland. One does feel for them though; first get snubbed in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and now this. More importantly, especially for the Australians who must note, not one foreigner was harmed in any way whatsoever save perhaps a bouncer or two.

The author does sincerely hope for Bangladeshi cricket to prosper in the future, and that the future BPL tournaments prove to be an ideal medium for the same. The current scenario in Pakistan is tragic to say the least, and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has a long way to go before the other teams (except Zimbabwe) muster the courage to go for a tour. Bangladesh, thankfully, have done the right thing at the right time by hosting the T20 league after Australia’s pull-out. Let us hope the league serves more than just that in the years to come. READ: Mohammad Aamer cites BPL as a stepping stone toward his quest of playing for Pakistan

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)