‘Competitive’ BCL set for final showdown
The Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) Independence Cup final between Central Zone and South Zone will get underway at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium today in what would be a repeat of the BCL four-day format final.
The final would not have the established stars of the Bangladesh setup with Shakib Al Hasan opting not to play the final while the likes of North Zone's Mahmudullah Riyad and East Zone's Tamim Iqbal failing to make the final. Mustafizur Rahman of Central Zone may also miss the final due to a back injury but he was still a cause for hope in South Zone's attempt to turn the tables from the longer format final.
Despite that, there was no lack of competitive air as South Zone manager Jamal Babu reiterated to reporters that his team were out for revenge after losing the final of the four-day format between the two sides.
"We lost the four-day match. We have come prepared and were able to beat them in the last match. We have a bowler like Mustafizur and hopefully we can become champions," he said.
While Central Zone lost their last match against South Zone, skipper Mosaddek Hossain was optimistic.
"We're not under any pressure. We took many lessons from our last game and hopefully we can use that to our advantage. When the wickets are good it's better for bowlers and batters to improve on their skill. How the wicket was in the last game would help Bangladesh cricket as a whole," Mosaddek said ahead of the final.
While Mosaddek said that it was a folly to have a different plan for Mustafizur because of his exceptional skills, South Zone skipper Zakir Hasan was waiting for good news on the pacer's recovery. "We will wait for Mustafizur till the last minute," Zakir said of Mustafizur.
The players looked focused during an optional practice session yesterday with Soumya Sarkar, Mosaddek and Mohammad Mithun going through the motions ahead of the final. For selector Habibul Bashar, the tournament has been competitive.
"There are only four teams. Usually finalists are decided quickly but this time we had to wait till the last moment. It was very competitive and the strengths of the teams were equal. The players were very serious and they enjoyed their wins. They owned the team. It was good," he said.
The participation from the senior players in the national side also helped raise spirits.
"Definitely it's an added bonus [to have top national stars in these types of tournaments]. The top players play in three formats and their schedules are very busy. If they play even one or two games, the players outside national team get inspired. It's a huge boost for them to play with those stars," Bashar said.