Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has chosen to play in the Dhaka Premier League rather than the Pakistan Super League this year.
Al Hasan, alongside Australian trio James Faulkner, Callum Ferguson and Joe Burns, was added to the Lahore Qalandars squad. The former national captain, though, has since opted out to prioritize the DPL.
"We have submitted a letter signed by Shakib to the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis that says he is keen to take part in the competition for us," Mohammedan Sporting Club official Tarikul Islam Tito told Cricbuzz.
"He will not play in the PSL and instead opted to be part of our team in DPL. He is a free player because he was not part of the 2019-20 DPL. He is eligible to take part and we have shown our keenness to take him in our side. The Bangladesh Cricket Board is yet to grant him for us but we hope to get the permission soon."
Other Bangladesh stars are involved in the PSL 2021, too. All-rounder Mahmudullah Riyad and batsman Liton Das have been signed by the Multan Sultans and Karachi Kings, respectively. These are popular teams in any betting site list in Bangladesh. Betway, by example, have the Sultans and Kings priced at 7.0 and 3.75, respectively to win the title. Lahore, who Shakib has effectively forsaken, are offered at 3.5 to win this year's PSL.
Shakib played three matches for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League earlier this year. He had prioritized this stint with KKR over-involvement in Bangladesh's Test series against Sri Lanka.
"The World Cup T20 is in India later this year. It is a very important tournament where we have much to achieve. There isn't much to achieve in these two Tests. I think it is a better option that I prepare myself for something bigger," he was quoted as saying by Cricfrenzy at the time.
"People are continuously talking about skipping the Test series against Sri Lanka. I want to play in the IPL to prepare myself properly for World Cup. The grounds where I will play IPL now will be the ground where I will play the World Cup match after four months. The players with whom I will play the IPL will be the players against whom I will play in the World Cup.
"For this reason, I will get more advantages than anyone else from Bangladesh, and it will also help me to share my experiences with the team that I will gain by playing in the IPL."
He will likely rejoin Kolkata if the suspended IPL resumes later this year. Indeed, this will help his and Bangladesh's preparation for the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Bangladesh has qualified for this year's T20 World Cup (previously called the World T20) alongside Pakistan, Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka.
Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Namibia, Scotland, and Oman will also be involved. The West Indies are the reigning T20 World Cup champions. They are also the most successful country in the history of the tournament with two titles.
Bangladesh has competed in every T20 World Cup since the first in 2007. That same year brought their best tournament finish - a spot among the top eight.
As a consistent left-arm spinner, formidable middle-order batsman and former captain Shakib will be key to Bangladesh's pursuit of a semi-final - and perhaps final - berth this year.
Their squad will likely feature fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman, who also has IPL experience. He was an integral part of the Rajasthan Royals' bowling attack during the 2021 edition of the competition and should be prominent against Sri Lanka.
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