Robin Das: Essex youngster excited for Bangladesh Premier League challenge

Robin Das: Essex youngster excited for Bangladesh Premier League challenge

Robin Das: Essex youngster excited for Bangladesh Premier League challenge

Robin Das in action
Robin Das made 10 appearances for Essex

Most 20-year-olds studying for a history degree are likely to be thinking about a new term of classes and writing deadlines.

But for Robin Das, the young hitter from Essex, a totally different experience awaits.

“I couldn’t be more excited, not only to play in my first franchise tournament, but also for it to be in Bangladesh,” he enthused.

Das is one of the few English playing professionals with Bangladeshi heritage.

Like the majority of British Bangladeshis, Robin’s family originated from the Sylhet region.

When the opportunity to play in Bangladesh presented itself, he inevitably grabbed it with both hands.

“It’s obviously of great personal importance to me and my family,” said Das, whose brother Jonathan played for Cambridge University and Essex second XI.

“My dad is definitely very proud, it means a lot to him.

“I don’t travel to Bangladesh very often, so it will be great to see my family who live there and hopefully watch me play.”

Despite only a few T20 Blast appearances, Das has been signed by the Dhaka Dominators of the Bangladesh Premier League, which means he will be juggling his studies for a hectic few weeks.

“It’s very difficult,” he said. “I think even if I didn’t leave it would still be difficult because as a professional you want to train all the time.

“Adapting to training without having to study can be mentally tiring. Sometimes you might not have as much free time as others, but when I finish my studies, I will not only have a career sporty, but something else to fall back on.”

The east Londoner, who got a small taste of international cricket last year when he appeared as a substitute outfielder for England against New Zealand at Lord’s, has his county’s full backing.

“Essex was very pleased to hear about this opportunity,” Das said. “They definitely encourage young players to leave and get as many experiences as possible, especially at the start of their career.

“They know that by leaving for a franchise, you will learn to rub shoulders with great players and to play under new conditions.”

The Bangladesh Premier League is an established franchise tournament, although it has arguably been overtaken by a batch of newer competitions.

One of the virtues of playing franchise cricket is being around international stars and getting advice. The BPL always attracts its fair share of big names and Das is looking forward to meeting them.

“Shan Masood is an amazing player, he’s had an amazing year playing county cricket and he’s very experienced in all formats so it would be great to tap into his knowledge,” Das said.

“There are certainly a lot of top players from other teams that it would be great to learn from too; Mohammad Rizwan, Dawid Malan, Shakib Al Hasan are all amazing cricketers.”

Das’ progress has highlighted the chronic lack of British Bangladeshi cricketers entering the professional game.

His own journey to Essex representation offers some insight into the possible reasons for this.

“The Bangladeshi community is very active in cricket circles, especially where I am from in East London. But compared to other Asian communities, there are not as many Bangladeshis going to the counties “, explains Das.

“Cricket is probably one of the hardest sports to play because there’s a lot of travel. Parents have to be very supportive and very committed. I’m very grateful that my parents have been able to do this since I was a child.”

Social and economic indicators suggest that the average Bangladeshi household is worse off than most other groups. Navigating seemingly impenetrable cricket lanes also compounds the problem.

The crisis of racism that continues to plague English cricket is another stark illustration of the work needed to win the trust of excluded communities.

By charting his own unique path, Das has become a torchbearer for better things to come.

Watch on the iPlayer bannerWatch on iPlayer footer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *