BPL KNOCKING THE DOOR: KEY TEAMS AND THEIR STRENGTHS

BPL KNOCKING THE DOOR: KEY TEAMS AND THEIR STRENGTHS

Comilla Victorians

 

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Allrounders will once again be the key for Comilla as they approach their title defense. Mashrafe Mortaza continues as captain, and he will have Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Ashar Zaidi and Nuwan Kulasekara among those who were part of their championship team from last year. The additions of Imad Wasim, Sohail Tanvir, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Saifuddin and Nabil Samad strengthens their squad.

Mashrafe will be keen to use Rashid’s legspin while also hoping Liton Das can score some runs unlike last year. Imrul is also in good form, enjoying the rewards of changing his approach and going after the bowling more regularly.

Position in BPL 3

Champions

Key player

Mashrafe Mortaza will have to juggle a strong overseas contingent as well as a talented bunch of local players. His commitment to the team last season was beyond measure, as he played many of the matches with injury, but this time he might need to be a little more judicious given Bangladesh’s busy season after the BPL.

Coach

Comilla continued with a local coach despite losing Mohammad Salahuddin to Chittagong, going for Mizanur Rahman Babul. The Bangladesh Under-19 coach took the side to the World Cup semifinals earlier this year, causing his stocks to rise significantly. Known to exert a calming influence, he will take on his first head-coach role in the BPL.

One that got away

It was odd to see Comilla not retain Abu Hider though he was their best bowler last season. Hider was adjudged the best emerging player, and his yorkers were a revelation for a little-known Bangladeshi fast bowler. Hider has been picked by Barisal this season.

Below the radar

Young batsman Al Amin did very well in the Dhaka Premier League last season, making a number of fifties for Victoria Sporting Club. He is quite good against spin but will need some adjustments against pace, which he is likely to face a lot of during this tournament.

The acquisition of Abu Hider from Comilla Victorians has added pace and verve to Barisal Bulls’ bowling stocks © BCB

Barisal Bulls

 

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If the local players perform to their potential, Barisal Bulls stand a chance to make the last four of this season’s BPL. Mushfiqur Rahim will lead a side that has experienced players such as Shamsur Rahman, Nadif Chowdhury, Shahriar Nafees and Al-Amin Hossain. They will need to combine well with an overseas brigade that includes Rumman Raees, Dilshan Munaweera and Josh Cobb, with the likes of Carlos Brathwaite and Mohammad Nawaz adding firepower.

Taijul Islam and Abu Hider are talented bowlers on whom much of Barisal’s bowling strength will depend. It looks like an out-and-out T20 squad on paper but the BPL is such a hectic tournament that form slipping away from players is a common phenomenon, so Barisal must remain wary.

Position in BPL 3

Runners-up

Key player

Mushfiqur Rahim has always been a strong performer in the BPL, and he will have to bring his A-game to a franchise that is looking for success this season. His triple role as captain, wicketkeeper and batting mainstay could once again weigh down on him, so there could be a case of giving the wicketkeeping duties to someone else because his batting form is most important to the side.

Coach

Dav Whatmore is back in Bangladesh with a coaching job for the first time since his four-year stint as the senior team’s coach ended in 2007. He has a heavy resume, and has tasted success in a number of cricketing cultures, and knows franchise cricket well, having coached Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. He will reunite with Faruque Ahmed and Athar Ali Khan, selectors during his time as Bangladesh coach and now part of Barisal’s management.

One that got away

Barisal have a revamped squad with big guns like Chris Gayle, Kevon Cooper and Evin Lewis missing but they will most miss the services of Mahmudullah, their captain from last year who has redefined his approach to T20 in the last 12 months.

Below the radar

Mahedi Hasan is a promising top-order batsman who also bowls offspin, and opened the batting for Gazi Group Cricketers in last season’s Dhaka Premier League. He still has to develop power in his game, which must have been addressed during his stint with the BCB’s High Performance unit this year.

Chittagong Vikings have a strong squad led by Tamim Iqbal, who will hope he can carry on the form he showed last season © BCB Media

Chittagong Vikings

 

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The presence of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Nabi combined with Tamim Iqbal, Abdur Razzak and Taskin Ahmed gives the Chittagong side a high chance of winning the title this year. They have a squad for every situation, so the trick will be to use them properly. Even someone like Chaturanga de Silva was picked because of his outstanding Dhaka Premier League season. Chittagong also selected Jubair Hossain as their last draft pick, to add to the variety of a bowling line-up that also includes the pace of Taskin, Tymal Mills and Imran Khan jnr and Razzak’s fastish left-arm spin.

Position in BPL 3

Sixth

Key player

Despite having a strong side that will get better as the tournament progresses, much of Chittagong’s fortunes will depend on how Tamim Iqbal performs as opener and captain. He had a good BPL last time but the team didn’t do well, so he will need to maintain his high standards while pulling the rest of the team along with him.

Coach

Mohammad Salahuddin was the first acquisition of the Chittagong franchise ahead of the 2016-17 BPL, mainly because of his success with Comilla Victorians who lifted the title last season. Salahuddin has been tasked to bring the trophy to Chittagong, for which he has already build a strong team from scratch.

One that got away

Mohammad Amir was Chittagong’s star performer last season, taking 14 wickets in nine matches. The 2015-16 BPL was his first overseas tournament after returning from his spot-fixing ban. Despite Chittagong building a fine team, they will miss Amir.

Below the radar

Wicketkeeper Zakir Hasan was a revelation during the U-19 World Cup, calm behind the stumps and classy with his strokes in front of it. He is likely to be Anamul Haque’s understudy as wicketkeeper but that might not be for too long.

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