The need for better pitches and stricter rules in BPL

ESPNcricinfo picks four talking points of the 2017-18 Bangladesh Premier League, all issues which will need more attention from the organisers.

The need for better pitches

Some of the best T20 cricketers in the world performed exceedingly well in this season of the BPL but they did so on unfriendly pitches, and the clamour among players, coaches and team owners rose during the business-end of the tournament in Mirpur. Even in Sylhet and Chittagong, however, the pitches were not always conducive to big-hitting. In the latter stages, Brendon McCullum, Tamim Iqbal and Mashrafe Mortaza publicly criticised the pitches, with Tamim drawing the wrath of the Bangladesh Cricket Board for his comments. Rather than punishing players, the BCB should take a look at its maintenance work of the Shere Bangla National Stadium's outfield and pitches. The ground had been rated poor by the ICC match referee after the Test between Bangladesh and Australia.

The need to be stricter when applying rules and regulations

Through the seasons, BPL seems to have had trouble applying rules. This year, they did not impose a pre-tournament regulation that a match would be decided by Super Over during the playoffs in case the allotted overs were not played due to rain. Ultimately, they added a reserve day to the playing conditions towards the end of the tournament, when they could have done so before it started. This lax attitude is not new. In 2012, the league officials switched semifinalists from Chittagong Kings to Barisal Burners on the night before the game. In 2013, Duronto Rajshahi almost fielded a team without foreign players following a pay dispute with owners. In 2015, a match between Sylhet Superstars and Chittagong Vikings was delayed after Sylhet named a different XI at the toss, and then fielded Ravi Bopara and Josh Cobb, when their NOCs arrived after the toss. Last year, the BPL governing council changed the tournament schedule after much dispute.

Even at the start of this year, stricter application of the over-rate fines may have made the league a smoother event. Captains took their time while umpires had to change balls plenty of times in the night games. Once a few captains were fined by strict match referees, the pace picked up.

The need for greater local presence

The regulation of five overseas players in an XI was not the most popular one this season. It has been implemented in 2012 and 2013 but no one thought the idea would come back in 2017. When it did, the regulation showed that most owners lacked trust in local batsmen, particularly uncapped players and those with few international caps. Despite that, low-profile players like Mohammad Mithun, Jahurul Islam, Mahedi Hasan, Zakir Hasan, Afif Hossain and Ariful Haque showed that local talent can come good when given the right opportunities. They created a case for going back to the cap of four overseas players in an XI next season.

Make it a better package

The BCB now has to take a look at how the BPL is being broadcast. For the first time in the tournament's history, it wasn't telecast in India, cricket's biggest market. The picture quality fluctuated for most viewers in Bangladesh, even as presenters and commentators criticized this. As a package, the BPL pales in comparison to Indian Premier League, the Pakistan Super League and the Caribbean Premier League, something the BCB should address quickly.