The BPL 2017 has entered its business stage as the Pakistan players arrived and joined their respective franchises for the remainder of the competition.
Left-arm pacer Junaid Khan and leg-spinner Mohammad Irfan have joined Khulna Titans while another left-arm paceman Mohammad Amir has joined defending champion Dhaka Dynamites. Amir practised with the team at Mirpur Academy Ground in Dhaka Sunday and is expected to play against Comilla Victorians Monday.
Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik had already played the last match for Comilla. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed was released by Khulna and later, he joined Chittagong Vikings.
The local youngsters, who recently participated in the ACC U-19 Youth Asia Cup 2017, returned to their respective teams.
Bangladesh U-19 captain Saif Hasan and vice-captain Afif Hossain joined Khulna this year and took part in training Sunday. This is the first time Saif will be playing in the BPL but Afif played last year for Rajshahi Kings.
Both the youngsters are delighted to train under the legendary Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene, who is the head coach of Khulna.
“Jayawardene is my idol since childhood. He is a brilliant batsman. I will definitely try to learn as much as possible from him. This is the first day of training for me with Khulna. So Jayawardene told me to adjust with the format first and try not to give any dot balls,” Saif told the media after practice.
Khulna have seven points from six matches and will face Rajshahi Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Rangpur Riders will face Sylhet Sixers in a crucial tie Monday. Rangpur, led by Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza, lost their last three matches and are at the bottom of the points table.
Riders mentor Nazmul Abedin Fahim said the team needed time to settle down but believes Rangpur will turn around as they have high profile players in their rank. There were a lot of expectations on big hitters Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum in the last match against Comilla but both failed to score big.
“It is unfortunate that we did not perform according to our ability. Players like Gayle and McCullum just joined the team. Everyone needs some time to settle down. I believe, our team are settling quickly and as we have a very strong batting and bowling line-up, we will turn around soon,” said Fahim.
“We haven’t set our batting order yet. But we are working on that. I believe the team will start to perform very soon as we have quality players. We just need to get back to our rhythm,” he added.