While the sixth edition of the Bangladesh Premier League -- the country's only domestic T20 tournament -- set to start from January 5 is a platform for emerging players to showcase their talent and make a strong case for a place in the Bangladesh dressing room. This edition could also be the perfect opportunity for some out-of-favour players to start the road back to the national team.
Such can be said of four Sylhet Sixers' players -- right-handed batsman Sabbir Rahman, right-arm pacer Taskin Ahmed, all-rounder Nasir Hossain and right-arm quick Al-Amin Hossain -- who have already impressed for the Tigers across different formats in the recent past but have fallen by the wayside for a considerable period.
Sabbir, who is currently out of the international scene as he is serving a six-month ban for abusing a fan on social media in July this year. With his ban taking effect from September this year, he has two more months before being eligible to return to the international scene. However, it will not be easy for the right-handed batsman, who last featured for Bangladesh in the third ODI against hosts West Indies in Basseterre in July, to make a comeback as other players like Mohammad Mithun and Soumya Sarkar have taken his place.
The 27-year-old, who has an impressive strike rate of 122.59 in T20Is and is best known for his power hitting and ability to play pacers well, will want to perform for Sylhet Sixers and make it to the Tigers' squad for the World Cup in England this summer.
“I will have a chance [to make a comeback] If I perform well in this BPL as this is a big stage for me. I will try to do well here and then I might think about the World Cup,” said Sabbir.
Taskin -- who was once an exciting prospect and had created a huge buzz at the start of his career for his ability to hit the deck hard and generate extra pace and bounce facilitated by his height of over six feet -- had last featured for Bangladesh in a T20I against hosts Sri Lanka in March this year. The 23-year old, who had failed to emulate his early-career spark for a big portion of his young career, can use the upcoming BPL to reclaim his initial lustre.
Once regarded as the future Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh cricket, all-rounder Nasir remains the one with the most international experience of the lot. Nasir, who featured in 65 ODIs, 19 Tests and 31 T20Is for the Tigers, has long been absent in the shorter formats of the game, playing his last T20I back in 2016 while his latest game for the Tigers was an ODI against Sri Lanka in January this year and the second Test of the two-match series against Australia in September 2017 being his last Test.
The shunning of Nasir, who had been cautioned by BCB in the past for his disciplinary issues -- much like his Sixers teammate Sabbir -- could be justified by taking into account his batting average in his last 11 ODIs of 8.27 with a high-score of 41 runs that came against Zimbabwe back in 2015. The 27-year-old has a lot to prove in this BPL if he is to regain his spot in the Tigers' dressing room.
It has been over two years since right-arm pacer Al-Amin played for Bangladesh -- a match against New Zealand in the Super 10 stage of the World T20 back in March 2016 being his last appearance in national colours -- who could have been a lethal weapon in Bangladesh's pace unit as a death over specialist for his ability to bowl yorkers. However, performing well for Sylhet Sixers in this BPL could be his way of giving a sweet headache to the national selectors before the World Cup in England this year.