BPL 2012 champions Dhaka Gladiators
We peaked at the right time and maintained the momentum to the end. This is my overview of why we won the BPL title in its first year. However, the secret I think was that we were able to cleverly utilize and back our local domestic players.
I want to give very special shout outs here to a few people. Firstly, to Mashrafe as a player and top Gladiator. What people do not realize is he was in pain most days and had to manage that issue. Yet he wanted to carry on and wanted to lead the team by example. He typified the Gladiator spirit of never say die and in the process, proved that he is still the best fast bowler in Bangladesh cricket. I cannot thank him higher than from my heart. It was a complete pleasure to work with him.
Next, my shout out goes to Ashraful. He showed his sheer class when batting and we were able to get the very best out of him in a way that has not happened for quite a while. His approach to batting was tremendous. Whether we used him as an effective opener or as a good middle order option, he gave us reliability in what is an unreliable T20 art.
Elias Sunny just grew and grew as the BPL went on. He took key wickets at important times and managed to bowl with immense control despite an onslaught attempt from some big hitting overseas players. For me he has proven he is the best slow left arm spinner at this form of the game in Bangladesh right now.
Anamul Bijoy I predict is going to be a super little cricketer. He kept wicket well, was not fazed when we moved him to field so we could play Dhimon Ghosh as an extra batter and then looked tremendously stylish, hitting two 40s when they were needed. The manner of his cricket heartens me and provided he maintains a love for the game and a passion for hard work, he has a glittering future ahead.
We successfully involved all of our squad and tried to blend then into a cohesive unit. This was not easy. Illness and injuries often rocked the squad and I know than fans did not always know why certain players had to be selected. MH Rubel spent a week in bed for example, Nazmul had fever, and so did Mehrab. These issues directly affected the makeup of the team. Other players did not always grab their chances, as I would have hoped. Nazimuddin could not quite show his best and neither could Aftab. They both came with high recommendations so I think they will be slightly disappointed themselves with their results. Dhimon came in and gave us a late batting option and looked impressive standing up to the stumps. It is never easy to keep to Afridi and Ajmal when you do not know how they bowl.
My final thanks though go to Imran Nazir and Azhar Mahmood, who were just superb. Apart from being wonderful team members, they performed as world-class players. Imran hardly put a foot wrong towards the middle and end of the competition, and Azhar proved why he is playing in the IPL for Kings XI Punjab with some match saving and winning all round performances. Rana Naved, who played the whole BPL with a busted finger. Stepped up in the second half of the BPL and actually got better as he went on, with reverse swing and clever pace changes. Keiron Pollard gave us some awesome power hitting in the middle and propelled us to victory with huge 6s on more than one occasion. Darren Stevens played the link man at number 4 and was extremely unlucky to have to miss out on the semi and the final as he had been a regular all the way through. He was one of the buys of the auction, as no one else knew him, and he played vital roles in keeping us on track. Alexei Kerveeze did not really get going but had a couple of chances. He will have learned much from being around the Dhaka camp for almost a month.
The BPL was an entertainment fest from Gayleâ€™s' electric start in Game 1, to Afridi's arrival at the end. In between, all sides played some amazing cricket and I want to congratulate other teams for making the event so exciting.
In the end I think we out thought, out played and out muscled the opposition teams. We were not afraid to back the local players. It was never all about the foreigners in our squad. So overall, we had the best blend and probably used that blend in the best way. Whilst cricket history is littered with sides winning trophies that may not deserve to, it boils down to who could finish the strongest and hold their nerve in this event. This is ultimately, why we probably won the BPL.
When I was appointed head coach, we started planning for our squad before the auction. We got the players together 5 days ahead of any other team. We have not hammered the players with meetings for meetings sake. We tried to keep things fresh and fun. Great support staff, a good franchise and a quality cricketing squad are the ingredients to do well. The Dhaka Gladiators promised entertaining cricket, and regardless of the result, I think we delivered it.
Thanks to everyone who came out and shouted for us. We salute you.