Chattogram Challengers English coach Paul Nixon on Friday said that he was banking on the local recruits to give his team the edge in the forthcoming Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League after joining his team’s training session at Mirpur on the same day.
On Friday, Nixon became the first foreign BPL coach to arrive in Bangladesh, with the tournament set to commence from Wednesday in Dhaka, and conducted the first team training session of the Chattogram team at the National Cricket Academy ground.
Challengers have assembled a formidable line-up of international players like Chris Gayle, Rayad Emrit, Kesrick Williams and Imad Wasim from the players’ draft, but Nixon was adamant that the performance of the local Bangladeshi players will be the key factor in the tournament.
‘It’s important that our local players believe that they are match winners. They have got to get a hold of the games and be the main guys,’ Nixon told reporter at Mirpur.
‘They know the grounds; they know the pitches as well. I think it’s going to be harder for the big names coming in. These are the work horses that can actually win games. It’s really important. They have got to believe that,’ he added.
In the players draft, which was held in November 17 in Dhaka, Chattogram opted for the current Bangladesh Twenty20 skipper Mahmudullah along with a host of proven performers in domestic cricket like Junaed Siddique, Nasir Hossain, Enamul Haque Jr, Muktar Ali and Pinak Ghosh.
Nixon was very pleased with the squad after seeing them for the first time on Friday and praised the franchise’s think-tank for their choices in the draft.
‘We have got some good players. I am very impressed with the options they have taken in the mix... They have match specific ideas, which is very important. We have got some very good players, I am very excited,’ he said.
This is the former England wicketkeeper batsman’s first stint as a coach in the BPL, although he was not a stranger to Bangladesh, having played against them in a hard-fought match in the 2007 ICC World Cup and being part of the England A squad which toured Bangladesh in February, 1995.
‘I do remember that game. It was in Barbados. Actually it was a huge wicket. I remember Sakib [al Hasan] and the spinners bowling beautifully. It was a tight game. It was myself and Paul Collingwood out there at the end. Luckily we saw us through.
‘I came here many years ago with the MCC before Bangladesh got Test status to see if it was worth MCC investing and helping Bangladesh cricket with facilities and coaches etcetera. It was the best thing they ever did.
‘Bangladesh always look for a fight. They always fight like tigers. It’s wonderful,’ Nixon said.
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