Sylhet has a large group of local coaches led by Rajin Saleh. Mohammad Salahuddin is the settled man at the help for Comilla Victorians. Shohel Islam and Mizanur Rahman Babul are the head coaches of Rangpur Riders and Fortune Barishal. All four teams made it through to the qualifiers, giving local coaching a huge boost.
A couple of years ago, Salahuddin said that coaches were treated like “E grade” people referring to the way players’ payments in domestic T20 competitions are set. Indeed, local coaches didn’t have a lot of influence in the BPL apart from Salahuddin. But things look positive this year, with Mashrafe Mortaza trusting Rajin, a former Bangladesh captain, with the coaching duties. He has Tushar Imran and Syed Rasel by his side.
All four teams, in fact, have an all-Bangladeshi coaching staff. There’s been a recent push for local coaches to get bigger roles but the BCB has been reticent. Perhaps this BPL campaign can be the boost they needed.
Dhaka, Chattogram, Khulna exit feebly
It was a BPL to forget for the three teams that didn’t quality for the playoffs. All three finished on six points each but the gulf between them and the top four was a little too much. Chattogram Challengers finished at the bottom of the points table, as they couldn’t even get close to repeating their 2022 result of at least making it to the playoffs. Khulna Tigers and Dhaka Dominators looked out of sorts almost from the get-go.
Chattogram couldn’t restore any of their main performers from last year. Will Jacks, the 2022 BPL’s highest run-getter, allrounders Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Benny Howell, as well as specialist bowlers Nasum Ahmed and Shoriful Islam, didn’t feature in their squad. It meant the spine of the T20 side went AWOL, as they struggled to close most games.
Khulna, too, missed out on their big performers from last year. Andre Fletcher made 410 runs while Yasir Ali and Mushfiqur Rahim supported him well. This year, Tamim Iqbal’s 302 is their highest score while Yasir lost his captaincy due to poor form and team results. He made almost the same number of runs this season but the lower strike-rate harmed the team’s chances.
Dhaka, the only new team with ownership this season, also struggled. They surprisingly opened the competition with a win against Khulna, but then lost six on the trot, before beating Khulna again in a low-scoring game. They won one out of the remaining four games, to finish with just three wins in the tournament.
Mahmudul Hasan Joy at least signed off from the BPL with a match-winning fifty under his belt. He made the unbeaten 64 off 43 balls as Khulna won the last league game of the competition on Friday. Joy was all the rage after his impressive runs in New Zealand and South Africa, but a drop in form resulted in the BCB ignoring him when handing out the central contracts this year. Innings such as these will keep him in the selectors’ thoughts.
Mukidul Islam took the tournament’s first five-wicket haul when he picked up 5 for 23 against Fortune Barishal. It had the big wickets of Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah and Karim Janat, as he helped Comilla Victorians to a win. Mukidul became only the third uncapped bowler, after Kevon Cooper and Afif Hossain, to take a five-for in the BPL.