More than just a dynamic duo
Background: In terms of spending, Gemcon Khulna topped the charts in the players' draft and have become one of the most talked-about teams in the tournament. The reason is the inclusion of star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who will make his comeback to cricket through the tournament after serving a one-year ban for not reporting corrupt approaches he had received from a bookie. Apart from Shakib, Khulna picked another grade A cricketer from the draft – Bangladesh's T20 captain Mahmudullah Riyad, who has been tasked with leading the side.
National Stars: Apart from Shakib and Mahmudullah, Khulna banked on loads of experience. Imrul Kayes has always been a prolific performer in the domestic circuit and his decade-long experience of international cricket will definitely add strength to the side. Like the batting department, the pace bowling department also consists of experience in the form of Al Amin Hossain and Shafiul Islam, who have shown their ability to perform in the T20 format over the years. In the spin department, apart from Shakib and Mahmudullah, Khulna also have left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam Apu.
Local performers: Aside from their stars, Khulna can also count on local performers to play vital roles.
There are few national discards such as Anamul Haque, Jahurul Islam, Shuvagata Hom, all-rounder Ariful Haque, and wicketkeeper-batsman Zakir Hasan to add depth. Khulna also has a nice blend of youth as well, most promising among them leg-spinner Rishad Hossain, who impressed many during the BCB President's Cup last month along with young pacer Hasan Mahmud. Shamim Patowary, who was a member of the Bangladesh U-19 World Cup-winning side adds variety.
What sets Khulna apart: According to head coach Mizanur Rahman Babul, having two world-class T20 players in the form of Shakib and Mahmudullah distinguishes the side from others. However, he is also confident that the variety in both the spin and pace bowling departments will play a key role. "Obviously we are lucky to have the world's top all-rounder, Shakib, along with Bangladesh's T20 captain Mahmudullah in the side. Their experience will be a goldmine for us. Apart from that, I think we have a wide range of variety in our bowling department both in pace and spin and I think we are a well-balanced side," Babul said.
Key Player: Undoubtedly, it is Shakib who will be the main strength for Khulna both with bat and ball. The top all-rounder will surely look to make a mark in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup after all the recent controversies that have kept him in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.