Friday, September 22, 2023

Shakib, Tamim biggest draws

When the country’s two traditionally popular clubs Abahani and Mohammedan completed their formalities in the Premier League’s inter-club players’ transfers almost silently, Victoria Sporting Club and the newly-promoted Sheikh Jamal Club made their presence felt on the final day bourse at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Victoria, the two times champions, hogged the spotlight by signing the country’s two leading players Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. Reportedly, the national pair are the highest paid cricketers this season, while the emerging Sheikh Jamal roped in national captain Mushfiqur Rahim and left-arm spinner Sohrawardi Shuvo from the national pool.
The mood at the stadium suddenly transformed into one of festivity when Sheikh Jamal turned up with a band party. Victoria, meanwhile, signed their players at a local hotel after a press conference which they called to clear their position regarding Lutfar Rahman Badal’s move to the new club from Mohammedan’s cricket affair.
Badal made it clear that he moved to the neighbouring club only to keep his commitment towards the players who have lined up with him. Besides the two star players, Victoria also signed players like Jahurul Islam, Rumman Bin Sabbir, Mukter Ali, Tareq Aziz. Mosharraf Rubel, Sharifullah and Saju Datta.
“I have a very good relationship with Tamim and Shakib and I made a commitment to them. You know Tamim even called me to inquire what would be happen to them as Imrul (Kayes) and Naeem (Islam), two national pool players, took the money from Mohammedan and also if they would get the promised amount regardless of whether they are playing or not. That’s why I moved to Victoria, to keep my commitment,” informed Badal.
He confirmed that the national pair are the highest paid players this season, but was not ready to disclose the amount because of income tax issue. Badal also informed that they are trying to bring West Indies great Brian Lara as a coach while they will try their best to hire dashing West Indies batsman Chris Gayle for the second round matches. Pakistani Shoaib Malik, who is now touring the country with the national side, also put pen to paper while two other Pakistan players and India batsman Manoj Tiwary also confirmed their services.
Understandably, Shakib and Tamim were delighted with the signing and both made it clear that their move to Victoria from Mohammedan was related to Badal’s move.
In the press conference an interesting comment came from Tamim when Shakib was asked what the reason was behind his poor performance at the domestic circuit unlike his performance at the international level.
“I think I got another opportunity,” replied Shakib but could not finish his answer as Tamim took away the microphone to say that: “Shakib’s presence is good
enough. It doesn’t matter whether he performs or not.”
National captain Mushfiqur was relishing the challenge of this season’s coveted limited-over competition.
“I think it would be an exciting league this season as a number of clubs made good teams. We are really looking forward to the league,” said the Tigers skipper.
Mohammad Ashraful, who joined DOHS (which has recently been bought by Prime Bank Limited) from Cricket Coaching School along with national pool player Shuvagoto Hom and veteran Faisal Hossain, also echoed his national captain’s sentiment, adding: “It’s an opportunity for me to get back my form.”
Left-handed batsman Shahriar Nafees and pacer Nazmul Hossain signed up for Prime Dholeswar who are all set to bring the in-form Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez.
Defending champions Abahani formed a balanced team and roped in two national players in Mahmudullah Riyad and Elias Sunny while Mohammedan, which was the last club to arrive, signed Naeem Islam and Imrul Kayes as their pool players and are believed to be a mediocre side.
Surjo Tarun who signed one pool player in pacer Shafiul Islam, Kalabagan with pool player Shahadat Hossain and Gazi Tank who signed all-rounders Nasir Hossain and Alok Kapali as pool players, also turned up on the last day.
It’s all but confirmed that Pakistani players will pour into the league as three foreign players per team are allowed.

-With The Daily Star input

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