Dubai: Bengal Tigers, who have a new coach and captain in Stephen Fleming and Sam Billings respectively, wants to go all the way in the second edition of T10 League in November-December. The team had finished in fifth position last season.
Speaking to Gulf News at a ceremony to launch Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal as the brand ambassador of Danube, owners of Bengal Tigers, team mentor Anis Sajan said: “We had great cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Sarfraz Ahmad as Danube’s brand ambassadors and Iqbal has been chosen because he carries himself in an ethical manner like our organisation. The day he showed the courage to bat with just one hand in the Asia Cup after fracturing his wrist, we decided he is the right person for the role.”
Elaborating on the appointment of Billings as captain, Sajan said: “Sarfraz was our captain last year, but this year due to national team duty, he won’t be available and hence we named Billings as captain. Our coach Stephen Fleming and Billings have been together with the Chennai Super Kings in the India Premier League and Fleming endorsed his appointment. Moreover, Billings had captained Kent county team to the final and we knew he has a cricketing head and the experience for the role.”
Sajan, who has years of experience as a team mentor in domestic cricket and India’s indoor team in the indoor World Cup, is planning on their batting slots in discussion with Fleming. “We have Jason Roy, the right-handed dashing opener, and he will open the innings with left-handed Sunil Narine. The right-left combination we believe can unsettle the bowlers. We also have Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi,fresh from his exploits in the Afghanistan Premier League, in which he led his team to victory.”
Sajan revealed that they have players who can surprise the opponents. “We have a surprise batsman in young West Indian Sherfane Rutherford with a strike rate of 150 and USA’s Pakistan-born pacer Ali Khan, who bowls at over 140km/h and was the highest wicket-taker in the Caribbean Premier League. With mystery bowler Mujeeb Ur Rehman too in our squad, we have many surprises for the opponents,” he said.
Sajan believes that a lot can be learnt from Fleming during their campaign. “My role as mentor is to sit in the dug-out and learn from a legend like Fleming on how to handle the unpredictability of this format in a cool and calm manner and know from close quarters the temperament of each player,” said Sajan.
Explaining his rationale behind picking Morne Morkel, Sajan said: “Our main fast bowler will be Morkel and we picked him ahead of [Lasith] Malinga, because he is tall and can hit the deck and create bounce on the Sharjah wicket. Pacers who were really quick did well in last year’s format.”