Aftab Ahmed, the coach of the surprise table-toppers of the Dhaka Premier League, Legends of Rupganj, denied of thinking about the championship right now, claiming that his team aspired to continue their match-by-match approach in the Super League, starting on Monday.
Rupganj turned a lot of heads when they surpassed more high-profile and star-studded teams in the league to come out on top at the end of the first phase of the competition, with only one defeat in 11 matches.
All-rounder Naeem Islam led a Rupganj side packed with out of favour experienced players like Shahriar Nafees, Mehedi Maruf, Muktar Ali and young talents like Mohammad Naim, Jaker Ali.
This mixture of experience and raw talent has thus far done the trick for Rupganj, propelling them four points clear of second placed Prime Bank Cricket Club before the start of the Super League.
‘I have been saying this from the beginning that we were never aiming for the trophy. Our aim was to go one-by-one. This is our slogan,’ Aftab told reporters at Mirpur on Saturday.
The former whirlwind Bangladesh batsman, who is working as a head coach of a DPL side for the first time, further explained his side’s approach in the tournament of focusing on their own game without thinking too much about their opponents and looked to carry on this approach in their Super League fixtures.
‘Who we are playing against doesn’t matter to us. We are always aiming for two points. In the Super League, every team has come out from tough positions, countered tough times and played really well to qualify. So, there is no chance to be casual against them,’ he said.
According to the Super League schedule, Rupganj will begin their Super League campaign on Monday against sixth-placed Mohammedan Sporting Club.
Even though Mohammedan barely scraped through to the Super League, Aftab refused to take them lightly, as they have an impressive batting line-up to overthrow any opponent in the league.
‘Our first match is against Mohammedan [Sporting Club]. Our aim will be to win that game and then think about the next match,’ said Aftab.
‘In the batting department, they have Liton Das, Raqibul [Hasan] and Abhishek [Mitra]. Sohag Gazi has also won them a few matches. So, we have no scope to relax even if we dislodge their first five wickets,’ said the 33-year old.
Rupganj acquired the services of pacer Taskin Ahmed late in the tournament, right after the pacer recovered from an ankle injury he sustained in February in this year’s Bangladesh Premier League, and played him in their final first phase game.
Taskin, however, had an underwhelming comeback, remaining wicket-less for 36 runs in his five overs.
Aftab praised the 24-year old pacer for his commitment to regain fitness but said that he would feature for Rupganj only if he is completely fit and if his inclusion doesn’t disrupt the team combination.
‘We are playing Taskin [Ahmed] because he is hundred per cent fit now…. Even if he was 70 per cent fit, we wouldn’t have taken the chance. As we have a good chance here, we can’t afford to take a risk,’ he said.
‘The team combination is also a factor. If everything goes accordingly, then it won’t be a problem.’
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