In that second BPL in 2013, Sylhet Royals came close to the final. Apart from this, no team from Sylhet could do anything very well in any other event. Over the years the ownership has changed, the team name has changed from the Royals to the Super Stars, the Sixers, the Thunder. But the fate did not change. This time too the new franchise Sylhet Strikers were not among the best teams on paper. But that team is now the most talked about team of the tournament!
Under the leadership of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, they started the season with five consecutive wins. They came to Sylhet from the top of the points list after winning six out of seven matches. In BPL, though, the ‘home team’ thing is not established that way. However, the fact that the cricket followers of Sylhet have adopted this team is as clear from the image of the ticket as it is clear even if you go to different parts of the city.
Around the city there are numerous banners, placards, posters welcoming the Sylhet strikers. After the team arrived in Sylhet from Dhaka on Wednesday, they were brought from the airport in a huge procession. The team bus went to the hotel leaving the procession half-finished as there was heavy traffic jam in the city.
Besides the performance, Mashrafe is another reason of interest around the Sylhet team. He is already extremely popular, but in Sylhet that popularity has increased a lot more. Just as he is the most successful ODI captain in the national team, he is also the most successful captain in the BPL. For the first time he is playing for a Sylhet franchise, Sylhet is doing so well under his leadership. All in all, Mashrafe’s victory is now in Sylhet.
Mashrafe is also feeling the touch of love and hope. He said in a press conference on the day before the start of the Sylhet episode, they will try to fulfill the hopes of the locals.
“The visitors of Sylhet may have got their team as they wanted so far this time. It’s as much fun for the team as it is for the audience. We will also try to keep our commitment. Can’t talk about the game, we will try to keep 100% commitment.”