The Rise of the 3rd Empire in Bangladesh
By Dr Who
No, we are not talking about a rise of Nazism. We are talking about the third empire of cricket. For the uninitiated, that'd be 1) tests, 2) ODIs and 3) Twenty20s. As with the Kerry Packer Series and ODIs, Twenty20 cricket was shoved into the limelight by the much opposed and [very] forbidden ICL despite County cricket having practiced it for quite some time. See, the English may invent games, but they really suck at popularising them.
Later, the BCCI answered ICL with IPL and all hell broke loose. It was suddenly hip and cool to have a Twenty20 league in every test playing country with either Cricket League [CL] or Premier League [PL] at the end. Needless to say, we Bangladeshis jumped on the bandwagon with PCL last year, which took place in Chittagong. This year, the private organisers moved it to the coliseum of cricket, the forgotten shrine: Sharjah. Remember Wasim Akram and Waqar Younus tearing up the pitch? Remember Tendulkar thrashing the Aussies when he wasn't so defensive? Sharjah has lost much of its glory in the last few years. With India and Pakistan no longer at daggerheads, the stadium at UAE is now home to the Afghan cricket board. It was a nice touch going back there again though.
But the official BCB T20 version started this month. Guess what it's called? National Cricket League! Surprise! The team names were not very original. Khulna Kings, Sultans of Sylhet. We at RS were wondering why they didn't go the whole nine yards with the regal naming.
Barisal Blazers Y Barisal Badshahs
The funniest thing about NCL is that they didn't have enough money to set up the third umpire system. So run outs and stumpings, not to mention doubtful catches, are left to the discretion of the umpires on the field. You know what they do have money for though? Cheerleaders! No third umpire, cheerleaders and free entry. And the teams aren't playing too bad either. Then why the lack of crowds? We think it's probably because of exam time at universities and the overdose of Twenty20 for the past couple of months. IPL itself has passed 50 matches already and it has quite a bit to go.
Oh, parting note to all those people who are tired of T20s: the Twenty20 world cup is coming up. Enjoy!
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