If cricket officials of the country were proud of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Mohammad Ashraful on Friday, they should now be thankful to the duo for bringing some much-needed buzz into this year’s domestic competition and lure a sponsor that they are yet to get for the premier club event.
The Premier League proper begins today with Mashrafe’s Abahani taking on debutants Cricket Coaching School at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ latest recruit Mashrafe, who will lead the defending champions, would bring in any crowd that turns up for the league opener after being dramatically bought by the franchise co-owned by film superstar Shah Rukh Khan. The Narail Express was bought for 600,000 dollars at the auction of the Indian Premier League held in Goa on Friday. News of the bidding war between Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab has definitely sparked a frenzy among the cricket fans in Dhaka and it is expected that there would be interest for at least the first few rounds when the Tigers would be available for the various clubs.
Abahani, a popular club by their own right, could definitely do with some positive news after their semifinal exit from the Twenty20 competition last week. The defending champions, who also won the league in 2006-07, will hope to have opener Tamim Iqbal fit and after the departure of several prominent names of last season to the rebel Indian Cricket League.
Gazi Tank, the impressive outfit in the Twenty20 competition, are the other promoted side in the league and they take on Bangladesh Biman at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium. Runners-up last year, Biman would certainly hope to cash in on Shakib Al Hasan’s presence but they are up against a strong unit led by Ashraful, a proven player for newly-promoted teams. His captaincy skills were first put to test when he led Sonargaon Cricketers’ surge in the Premier League only a few seasons ago and it is expected that he do the same for Gazi Tank, another big-moneyed newcomers.
Mohammedan Sporting Club, who bagged this year’s Twenty20 trophy, will also play on the opening day. They take on last year’s survivors Young Pegasus. The Motijheel giants have made their most promising side in years with the likes of Shamsur Rahman, Marshall Ayub and Nasiruddin Faruque adding strength to the batting that already boasts of Rokibul Hasan, the man-of-the-final last week.
It is well-known in the club circuit that Abahani always gets it right when it comes to team combination but this time it seems that the Motijheel giants’ officials have made a good fist of it.
Tomorrow, last year’s surprise package BKSP take on Partex, rumoured to have recruited Mushfiqur Rahim in Mirpur while Shurjo Tarun face Victoria at the BKSP. The first round encounters would be complete when Mehrab Hossain’s Old DOHS face City Club in Fatullah.
Abahani v C.C.S at Mirpur
Biman v Gazi Tank at Fatullah
Mohammedan v Pegasus at BKSP
BKSP v Partex at Mirpur
Surjo Torun v Victoria at BKSP
City Club v Old DOHS at Fatullah
Abahani v Gazi Tank at Mirpur
Biman v Young Pegasus at BKSP
Mohammedan v Partex at Fatullah
BKSP v Victoria at Fatullah
Surjo Torun v Old DOHS at Mirpur
City Club v C.C.S at BKSP