The Auction is just a day away so I felt sharing what I thought was my mantra for a good BPL team.
The first goal for any franchise should be to get an aggressive coaching staff in. It is not difficult to find coaches for short term T20 tournaments. For a handsome contract, a franchise can acquire some great coaches. When looking for a coach for this tournament, It is a good idea to look for someone who has already worked for Bangladesh or someone who just retired from cricket and will only assist the players by sharing the experience. Getting an allrounder coach is also a smart move. This way, the team can save some cash rather than getting an individual batting and bowling specialists. Right now I can think of some retired players that could be approached by a franchise to assist the players. Some like Heath Streak, Fleming, Vaas, Waqar and so on. At the same time, each franchise also needs to have a local expert. This will be beneficial to the local players for communication purposes and the local ex-players can gain valuable experience from the tournament. Players like Mohammed Rafique, Khaled Masud Pilot made valuable contribution as a coach last year and the trend needs to continue.
Now, after acquiring the coaches, it is time to get the right players for the team. There are couple of factors to consider while looking for suitable players. First of all, the condition. Yes it is a crucial factor. In Bangladesh, the grounds that will be used are all suitable for spinning conditions. As a result, one would think that loading up the bowling attack will spinners will do. However, that might not be the case this time. BPL 2 is set to take place from the third week of January and the games will be held in evening/night. As a result, it is not rocket science to predict that there will be a lot of dew factor and we all know how spinners struggle in this scenario. So we need pacers. True, we don’t have pacers like Malinga, Steyn, Morkel, and Cummins available. But we have a decent set of pacers to pick from. Some great pacers that are up for auction are, Gul, Tait, Nannes, Best, Sami, Wahab, Edwards. The team needs at least one of them. If it was upto me, I would try my best to get one of Tait, Gul. Once a foreign seamers are in, the focus should be to get at least 2 local pacers and one of them needs to be a local star.
After that is done, it is time to pick a core spinner. Now Bangladesh is known for producing one of the best spinners. So a smarter move would be to save some cash by going for a core spinner from Bangladesh. Here, we have a lot of options. Elias Sunny, Shohag Gazi, Enamul Huq Jnr, Saqlain Sajib, Arafat Sunny, Abdur Razzaq. It does not make a lot of sense to spend some crazy cash for the likes of Sunil Narine or Ajmal. Yes they are great names and it would be great to have them on board, but going over the budget for them might not be a smart move, specially when we have the option of packing the side with multiple quality spinners from domestics.
An opener plays the most crucial role of the batting innings in a T20 match. They can set the innings on fire or shake the entire batting order by falling cheaply. Therefore, getting a solid opener is something I would focus on immediately. For this, there aren’t a lot of options for this year. There is Tamim, Ashraful and Anamul who are on song among the locals and there is Nazir, Kamran, Lumb, Hales and Dwaine Smith. If it was upto me I would try my best to have a local- foreign combo. For locals, it would be tough to get Tamim but whoever gets him will have a huge advantage. Among foreign players, my pick is between Smith and Hales.
The T20 is a game of allrounders. And this is where the battle of auction gets intense. Fortunately, the auction list has lots of allrounders packed so each franchise should be able to bag a few. Now question is who? Bangladesh has some great allrounders like Shakib, Riyad, Nasir, Alok, Naeem, Shuvagata and many more. I would try my best to get at least 2 spin allrounds, preferably a leggie and an offie depending on the spinner I get from the core spin list. This is where it would be a good idea to spend some money because spin allrounders are assets of the team.
Ok, Finally the most important part for me in the auction would be to get a seam allrounder. In T20, I cannot emphasis how important seam allrounders are in the squad. They are basically game changers. I would try to get my hands on one world class international one and one national star. This is where a franchise should spend out of the box if they need to. For national pool, there is our favorite Mashrafe Mortaza, Ziaur Rahman along with some domestically experienced ones like Farhad Reza, Soumya Sarkar, Dolar Mahmood. I would go for at least one of them preferably between Mashrafe, Zia and Soumya. Then its time to go for some foreign seam allrounders. The current list has some great names like Bravo, Pollard, Russel, Abdul Razzaq, O Brien, Alphanso, Azhar Mahmood, Bopara, Kevin Cooper and so on. These are the players, I would go berserk to get. If a team can manage 2, they just hit the jackpot.
So let me summarize the Mantra for a good BPL team in my opinion.
Local spinners, Foreign pacers, foreign pace allrounders, local spin allrounders, mix openers, mix lower order specialists. A franchise does not have to go crazy for big names if they plan it out and have sufficient backup. It would be wise to concentrate on the locals first and then the foreigners. The auction list is looking good as of right now and has some promising underdogs of T20 cricket. The franchise has to do their homework on these players and find the potential.
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