Preview: Sylhet Royals
Will their makeover change fortunes?
Having won only two of their ten matches in the first edition of the Bangladesh Premier League, Sylhet Royals went for a complete makeover at the players’ auction this year. Their most expensive buy, Mushfiqur Rahim, who was bought for 205,000 dollars, has been given the responsibility to lead a side that has a good mix of players. Sylhet have had to find a couple of replacements on their side right before the competition as the West Indian duo of Tino Best and Andre Russel will be touring Australia in February and are unavailable. They have been replaced with Australian Dirk Nannes and West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul, both of whom were initially unsold in the players’ auctions.
While Mushfiqur may not exactly follow the ‘slam-wham-bang’ theory with the bat, he does, however, clear the park with ease when set. The captain of the national team, Mushfiqur knows the strengths and weaknesses of most of the local players. It’ll be a plus point for the captain, who will be leading a comparatively inexperienced T20 side. Shohag Gazi has seen his value increase by a huge margin in a year’s time. From being in the ‘Group C’ in last year’s auctions, to being catapulted into the same category as that of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Shohag’s performances against the West Indies has done wonders for him. While he did excel in 50 overs cricket and the five-day version of the game, he still needs to get experienced in the shortest format of the game. He, along with Suhrawardi Shuvo, will have to lead the spin department for the Royals. Known as a T20 specialist, Nannes is perhaps the most experienced player in the Sylhet side. His late entry into the team is bound to strengthen Sylhet’s bowling attack.
The Royals this year are a more balanced side as compared to last year’s team. While their bowling attack has a good balance between spin and pace, their batting side has a mix of aggression and caution. Dwayne Smith, Hamilton Masakadza and Mominul Haque, apart from the captain, will be expected to bat at the top-order.
With five national players present in the side, the local spots on the team are almost confirmed. Apart from Mushfiqur, Shohag and Mominul, pacer Nazmul Hossain and Suhrawardi are expected to play in the starting eleven. As for the foreign players, Dwayne Smith and Nannes are expected to lead the pack. Chanderpaul, who played for Khulna last year, will also be in contention whereas Ireland’s Paul Stirling, Masakadza and the Pakistani players will have to battle for the remaining places in the side.
-With The Daily Star input