Former New Zealand cricketer James Franklin has arrived in Bangladesh to take part in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20's fourth edition for Rajshahi Kings. The left-arm seamer-allrounder has represented the Kiwis for more than a decade before inadvertently hanging up his boots in 2013 from all three formats. The 36-year old now plays domestic leagues all over the world.
Amid all the BPL action, Dhaka Tribune
managed to catch up with the Kiwi all-rounder for an interview where he talked about his career, the recent Test series between Bangladesh and England, along with the Tigers' challenges in their upcoming tour of New Zealand later next month.
Here are the excerpts:
You're here in Bangladesh after five years to feature for Rajshahi in BPL 4. How are you feeling at the moment?
It’s obviously great to be here in Bangladesh. Obviously there's a great passion for cricket in here so it’s nice to be back in Bangladesh. I have played here five years back. Looking forward to play for Rajshahi in BPL as you know we have a very exciting team. Obviously we have lost a few games but still I think we have a good balance of batting and bowling. Things will get better as the tournament progresses. If I get the opportunity I will try to utilise my experience of playing different T20 leagues all over the world. I was on break for a few days as I live in London but hopefully I will be ready to hit the field again.
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Franklin following one of his several match-winning knocks for the Kiwis COURTESY
You have played international cricket for more than a decade. You are still playing domestic leagues all around the world since your international retirement a few years back. Tell us about your immediate future plans?
I am thankful to have such a long career as a sportsman, especially cricket which is obviously a very tough game. It should be mentioned that the greats have maintained themselves and sustained at the international arena for a long time. But for the rest of us humans, you know it’s a very up and down career. I am very thankful to be able to play international cricket for some time in different competitions around the world such as IPL (Indian Premier League), or CPL in the Caribbean. And now the BPL. I played county cricket and obviously domestic cricket in New Zealand. So obviously I am very lucky as I shared my experience with different people and players around the world. And you know that’s the thing I will look back when I finish playing cricket. But hopefully I will be able to play for a few more years.
What are the differences that you have observed in the Bangladesh team since you last played against them?
I think Bangladesh have now lost the aura of who they are playing against. Now they have the belief. Without any disrespect, I think they never looked up in the eye of the opposition. But now that’s changed in the last couple of years, which is a real relief among the Bangladesh cricketers and supporters. No matter who they are playing against, they always believe that they can win, particularly here at home. I think when Bangladesh play in Dhaka and Chittagong it is tough for touring teams to win games against them. So it’s a compliment. The captain, coaches and players are building the belief. It was always going to take time. Now the time has started and it's only going to get better with all the young players watching. The expectations are growing and it's an exciting time for Bangladesh cricket.
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Franklin was devastating on his day, be it with the ball or bat COURTESY
Have you seen the recent Test series between Bangladesh and England?
I did not watch every ball but I kept my eye on it. It was fantastic result for Bangladesh in their last Test in Dhaka. I mean what a result, wow! That’s the benchmark now. They know they can beat England so it can be said they can beat Australia at home, and India as well. You have to keep building and great things are coming for Bangladesh, I have no doubt.
Bangladesh will be touring New Zealand next month. What do you think will be the challenges awaiting the visiting side?
Most of the guys have toured New Zealand before so the challenge we face coming to Bangladesh is obviously the slow and low wickets turning a lot. And once the Bangladesh boys go to New Zealand there will be more pace and carry in the pitch with seam movement. But it shouldn’t be that odd for them as I said most of them have been there before so they know what to expect putting that into practice. I think they should go with the belief that they can compete. And why not. Not only their backyard, their next target would be to perform better outside, like New Zealand, Australia and England, and try to win games there.