Nazmul, Nayeem, and the breakout stars of DPL 2018

Nazmul Hossain Shanto is ecstatic after scoring his century ICC

The Dhaka Premier League is known as the breeding ground for Bangladesh cricket's future. Here's a look at five cricketers who stood out in the 2017-18 tournament.

Nazmul Hossain Shanto

Nazmul's fourth century of the season, in the tournament's last game against Legends of Rupganj, was pivotal to Abahani Limited's push for the title. A solid batsman, Nazmul added to his technical prowess by finding plenty of new shots through the season, finishing top of the charts with 749 runs. Nazmul also maintained a strike-rate of 97.52, better by far than each of the ten batsmen below him. Among batsmen with 500-plus runs, only Nurul Hasan scored quicker. However, after the Rupganj game, ODI captain Mashrafe Mortaza said that Nazmul needed a bit more time to get ready for international cricket.

Nayeem Hasan

Nayeem was fast-tracked into the Bangladesh Test squad in January this year, as one of three spinners to cover for the injured Shakib Al Hasan. He eventually sat out the Chittagong Test against Sri Lanka, and wasn't picked again in the series, but Nayeem isn't one to forget.

A tall offspinner, which is a rarity in Bangladesh these days, Nayeem was accurate in landing the big off-breaks during the DPL. He took 23 wickets and gave away 4.7 runs an over, with a best of 4 for 53. Gazi Group coach Mohammad Salahuddin said that Nayeem showed his hard-working side immediately after exiting the Bangladesh dressing room. He'd now hope to play in the Bangladesh Cricket League's remaining matches, which begin on April 10, to take his bowling further in a season that has earned him some recognition of his talent.

Mahidul Islam

Mahidul Islam was the league's highest run-scorer among wicketkeepers, with 609 runs at 40.60 in 16 matches. He also topped the dismissals column, with 28 victims. But ahead of the league, Mahidul was the little-known wicketkeeper who played for the underdog club Khelaghar Samaj Kallyan Samity. He had had a poor Under-19 World Cup campaign in New Zealand, where he made just 35 runs in three innings.

Mahidul's knocks of 85 and 115 not out against Gazi Group Cricketers and Agrani Bank respectively went a long way towards confirming Khelaghar's place in next season's DPL. He also scored three other fifties against Gazi Group and Rupganj, which meant that most of his big runs came against the big clubs.

Mohammad Naim

Another Under-19 player who caught the eye in this season's DPL after a lean U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, Naim was among the top ten run-scorers, with 556 runs from 12 innings, after not being an automatic choice for Rupganj. Naim became consistent after scores of 93 and 82 midway through the league, culminating with his rapid 70 against Abahani on the final day.

Naim is a tall and upright opening batsman, who leans into his drives down the ground. He still needs to work against the short ball, but according to Rupganj coach Manjurul Islam, Naim has shown that he is ready to work hard to take it to the next level. Manjurul, however, thinks that Naim is still a fair distance away from knocking on the senior team's door.

Robiul Haque

Robiul was one of two young pace bowlers who were consistent in the DPL. He took 27 wickets at an average of 16.66, and gave away 4.47 runs per over. His only five-wicket haul came against Rupganj, while his three wickets against Abahani gave Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club a whiff of a maiden DPL title.

Robiul impressed with his strong bowling action, but he has a long way to go in maintaining his fitness and taking his bowling to the next level. A call-up to the High Performance squad is, however, likely.