Defending champions Rangpur Riders, who currently sit third from bottom on the Bangladesh Premier League table, already had an illustrious list of players with both local and international talents at their disposal. However, after one of the most feared batsman on the planet -- AB de Villiers-- joined their ranks yesterday, the franchise has surely increased in lustre.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's Rangpur are certainly not in a position they would have liked to be at so early in the season. Managing only two wins from six matches, one of which was the side's narrow eight-run victory against bottom-placed Khulna Titans while the other was their best showing in the tournament -- a nine-wicket win over Comilla Victorians, who were bundled out for a meagre 63 runs.
While only Rilee Rossouw has been consistent with the bat for Rangpur, topping the highest run-getters list with 288 runs from six games, which saw three fifties and a 44 not out against Rajshahi Kings in a lost cause, another big name in Chris Gayle, hailed as the 'Universe Boss' of the shortest format of the game is yet to make any notable impact.
However, Rangpur coach Tom Moody mentioned during a press conference yesterday that they would not be carried away with the fact that de Villiers -- known as Mr. 360 for his ability to hit all around the park -- joined the side.
“I think AB de Villiers in any side is going to add a lot of value. But we'd be foolish to think that he's going to be the magic that's going to make a difference. We know that yes, he is going to add value, but there are talented players that need to also continue to do the hard work. It's a collective effort; there's no individual that can make massive changes. But we welcome him into our side because we know we are bringing in a world-class player.”
Moody also reiterated his faith on the destructive West Indian Gayle.
“I'm sure Chris [Gayle] is frustrated. Chris has a T20 cricket record that no one's close to. And he is also a very proud man and we know that a player of his quality is going to shine at any given moment. Once Chris comes to the party with the bat, I feel for the side that's going to be in his way.”
Although Rangpur have a lot of talented individuals, it's just as their manager said, they will need a collective effort to change their fortunes when they meet Sylhet Sixers tomorrow.