Akhtar Group, one of the most reputed organizations from Bangladesh, has dived deeper into their existing cricketing contributions planning an endeavor to explore and encourage budding talents in the rural regions of Bangladesh. The main motive of the project is to facilitate those with a lack of facilities and specific platforms to come to be given opportunities to come to the fore.
After a successful association with the Bangabandhu Premier League T20 Chittagong team (Chittagong Challengers) earlier, the organization has been a real source of help for Bangladesh Cricket. They are a determined force for working towards the development of cricket in the country and are willing to contribute towards making a fruitful change.
The Akhtar Premier League (APL) as it will be called, will consist of players selected from the grassroots level from across each division of the country. It will be a year-long affair played in a home-and-away format. The players will be trained to develop their game and potentially represent Bangladesh at the national as well as international level. The team is also committed to arrange scholarships for players to train at a few of Bangladesh’s top-most cricket academies.
Multiple international cricketers from across the globe have also pitched in to support the formation of this league. The likes of Pakistan’s fast bowler Mohammad Amir, Zimbabwe’s Elton Chigumbura, American cricketer Sanjay Stanley and Caribbean cricketer Kirk Thomson have wished success to the league. Bangladeshi leg-spinner Jubayer Likhan, fast bowler Mehdi Hasan Rana, Shamsur Rahman, Suhrawardy Shuvo. Indian coach Manpreet Sidhu, Australian coach Nathan Dodd, fitness coach Rajesh Chouhan, Scott Styris of New Zealand, Mohammad Shehzad of Afghanistan, Kamran Akmal of Pakistan, and many more have also shown good interests.
As a trial to how a separate league can be formed, the Akhtar Group has already started a preparatory league consisting of cricketers from amidst its 3000 employees. The valued observations and learnings from the same will boost the infrastructure and planning for the bigger league.
Akhtar Group Managing Director KM Rifatuzzaman told Daily SportsBD in this regard,
“The league will have to pick the best players in each division. It will run throughout the year. And this tournament will be on a home and away basis. Each team will go and play in another division. And for those whose performances are understood to be able to perform well or internationally at the national or domestic level in Bangladesh in the future, I will give scholarships to some of the best cricketers from here every year to different academies.”
We have all witnessed Bangladesh cricket’s rise in the last few years. From being one of the most downrated teams in the world to being one of the most consistently rising teams now, Bangladesh is likely to attain more success in years to come. The likes of Shakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, and Mustafizur Rehman to name a few, have all risen from the lower backgrounds and worked hard for every bit of success. Akhtar Group’s initiative to care for and support the talent is no less than a blessing, and it’s only time that it contributes more towards the overall development of Bangladesh cricket.