BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE national cricket team allrounder Ryan Burl is over the moon after his recent excellent form in T20 cricket was recognised with a contract to feature in the lucrative Bangladesh Premier League.
The 25-year-old, who enjoyed a successful tour of Bangladesh with the Chevrons in September, was the only local player to be signed during the player draft for this year’s edition of the BPL held in Dhaka on Sunday after being snapped up by the Chattogram Challengers.
The seven BPL franchises, who will feature in this year’s edition of the tournament scheduled to run from December 6 to January 11, 2020, had to choose at least nine local players and six foreign players from about 620 cricketers, which included 181 Bangladeshis and 439 foreigners.
In an exclusive interview with The Sports Hub, Burl, who has been enjoying some good form after initially battling injuries in the early stages of his international cricket career, said he was delighted to earn the BPL contract.
“It means so much to me! I have had a lot of ups and downs over the last three years with major injuries etc, so to have a successful year and get rewarded for it with a BPL contract is extremely satisfying and means a lot to myself and all my family and friends that have helped with supporting me along the way,” Burl said.
A hard-hitting left handed batsman and genuine leg spin bowler, Burl will be part of a star studded Chattogram Challengers squad, which features top players such as West Indies superstar Chris Gayle and Pakistan’s Imad Wasim.
He said he was looking forward to making the most of the opportunity by making a big impact for the Chattogram Challengers, who will be seeking their maiden BPL title after reaching the final in 2013.
“My target will be to take every opportunity given to me and to try and make a big impact whenever possible, be it batting, bowling or fielding. Something special is always close by. It will also be an amazing learning experience. To be able to share a changing room with players like Chris Geyle, Imad Wasim among others is incomparable! I’ll just soak up all their knowledge and feed off their experience and energy,” Burl said.
A hard-hitting left handed batsman and genuine leg spin bowler, Burl was one of the few bright sparks in the Chevrons’ recent tours of Bangladesh and Singapore, producing some notable performances with both bat and ball.
The main highlight came when he smashed an unbeaten 57 off 32 balls albeit for a losing cause in a T20I encounter against Bangladesh which earned him praises from the Bangladesh superstar Shakib al Hasan.
During the match, Burl scored 30 runs in one of Hasan’s overs, which included three sixes and as many fours — the second highest runs conceded in an over by a Bangladeshi in T20Is.
Burl will be joined in the BPL by compatriot Grant Flower after the legendary former Zimbabwe batsman landed the head coaching job at the Rangpur Rangers.
Flower will mentor the side, which will be captained by Bangladesh pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman in addition to other top players such as West Indies rising star Shai Hope, Mohammad Nabi from Afghanistan and South-Africa-born English cricketer Cameron Delport.
The assignment in the Bangladesh Premier League is Flower’s first senior coaching role since parting ways with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after the World Cup in August to end his six year reign as batting coach of the Pakistan cricket team.