Dhaka – Tom Moddy, the head coach of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) champion Rangpur Riders, said on Thursday his side was ready to defend the title in the upcoming season slated to begin from January 5.Rangpur started their preparation camp earlier in the day but their captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was not present as he attended the oath-taking ceremony of newly-elected parliament members.
“We are fully aware it is a strong competition. All the teams are very well balanced. What happened last year was great for us as a new franchise. We know that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. Suddenly finding ourselves winning a game is not easy. It is a long road,” Moody told reporters.
Rangpur’s assault to win the BPL title in the back-to-back season could be boosted by the inclusion of AB de Villiers and Alex Hales.
“It is great. We have AB for about seven games and Alex Hales for the whole tournament. We have a number of good local and international players. It is not going to be an individual that will help win the tournament. It is going to be a collective effort,” he said.
“We will be relying on all our domestic and international players to step up when their opportunity comes. An individual can influence and win a game from time to time, it is more a team effort that wins championships,” the coach said.
Mashrafe will lead the Riders for the second consecutive season. Tom Moody believes politics is not going to ruin Mashrafe’s cricketer character.
“Most importantly he is a member of cricket as well. Obviously, he has had an exciting chapter of his life in the last few weeks. We all congratulate him on his achievements. I know Mash will be keen to get down to cricket business once we kick off on Saturday,” Moody said.
Rangpur will start their BPL campaign on the first day of the contest facing Chittagong Vikings in the opening match. The match will be held at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at 12:30pm.UNB