Defending champion Comilla Victorians ended their campaign with a win when they defeated Rangpur Riders on Sunday in Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. This Bangladesh Premier League 2016-17 season was a bit different for Comilla captain Mashrafe bin Murtaza in that he did not end up on the winning side.
And following their final round robin game, Mashrafe spoke with the media in the post-match press conference regarding their disappointing campaign and Bangladesh's upcoming tour of New Zealand, among other things. Here are the excerpts:
Happy to end the tournament with a win?
It feels good. It's difficult to expect to win the tournament every year. It feels good to have come back from such a low point and win the last few matches. But the difference between points in the standings among teams isn’t that much. Despite finishing sixth, we have finished with 10 points. Players are happy about that. It’s disappointing but what we have done so far is good after such a bad start.
Youngsters like Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Mohammad Saifuddin played for the holders. Did they feel any pressure?
Such kind of a situation is always difficult. But then, they managed to come back. So that’s good. They came back as a team. Yes, it feels bad that we are not in the top four. But from one aspect it's good that they were able to take such pressure and manage some wins. Since they have faced this, they will be able to do better in pressure situations in future.
Soumya Sarkar's off-form with the bat continues for Rangpur Riders. Are you concerned as the captain of the Bangladesh limited-overs teams?
Soumya spent plenty of time at the middle [Sunday]. I think he judged the ball pretty well but got out. I feel that the wickets are more difficult for a batsman to score in Bangladesh nowadays. When we think about New Zealand, Australia or South Africa, we think of seaming conditions but at the moment, it's not like that over there. Teams are scoring 300-350 runs there. Those are good wickets and easier for batsmen. Maybe except for the first five-seven overs, it will be easy for batting there. Tests will be different no doubt. But I think for our batsmen it will be easier to score there rather than here, if they can prepare themselves well mentally.
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Mashrafe bowls during their final round robin game DHAKA TRIBUNE
Is there any player from BPL 4 that you have earmarked for the national side?
I don’t judge anyone based on T20. The ones who are doing well can do well in future if they are polished well. There is a huge difference between these leagues and international cricket.
The local players have played well in BPL 4. Do you think they got enough preparation for the upcoming New Zealand series?
Maybe a batsman will be more confident but the environment and type of competition will be different. You can’t say a player who has played well in BPL will play well there (New Zealand). Yes, the ones who have scored runs or took wickets can gain extra confidence. But we have to play well there to score runs or take wickets.
Who are your tournament favourites?
Dhaka [Dynamites] and Chittagong [Vikings] are the favourites. But you can’t say surely, particularly in this format. Sometimes the last team who qualify often clinch the trophy in the end. But yes, Dhaka and Chittagong are slightly ahead.