Coronavirus costs throwdown expert Bulbul IPL job

Bulbul Ahmed, who works as throwdown specialist with the Bangladesh Cricket Board, had landed a gig with Sunrisers Hyderabad for IPL 2020.

Bulbul Ahmed at the Cricket World 2019 in the UK.

Bulbul Ahmed, a throwdown expert from Bangladesh, had landed a job with Sunrisers Hyderabad for IPL 2020. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, that forced the BCCI to suspend the tournament indefinitely, robbed him a chance to earn in bulk.

He is currently living off allowances from cricketers and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

Hailing from a poor family, Bulbul walked into a cricket ground, for work, at an early age. He would pick up bottles after the completion of a match and at times, operate as the errand boy.

Read: The glorious run of Team India in 2019

From Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan, where his mother was also employed, he joined the BCB in 2000.

Bangladesh national team video analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekaran, who also works with Sunrisers, had shared a video footage of Bulbul's unique throwdown session with the team management. “That’s how I got the offer. They liked my style probably. Normally, people stand and throw the ball but I do it like a bowler using the dogstick. I run in and throw the ball,” he told Sportstar.

The intensity of Bulbul in motion, with the stick, is a challenge for any batsman, specially if weak against short balls. "It would have been my first time in the IPL," he said.

“It is very recently that I got a chance to be with the senior side. Earlier, I would work with the age-group teams. Initially, I have worked for free. I only got food in the first few months of my career.”

“My first tour was Asia Cup 2018 in Dubai and then, I also went to the World Cup,” said Bulbul, who did not sign any contract with Sunrisers but was promised Rs 1,20,000 for the season and Rs 5,500 as daily allowance. “A contract would have been dependent on my performance. I don’t have major demands. The money could have helped my family. IPL was a big platform and it is sad that the sporting world is suffering due to the virus.”

Bulbul grew up with Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim. "I think I have spent nine years with them, right from their early days," he said.

Robiul Karim, a fitness trainer at Bangla Trac Cricket Academy, had also booked a Sunrisers berth. Aspiring to be a fielding coach, he was looking forward to the experience rather than the money.

IPL was scheduled to run between March 29- May 24.

  Dugout videos