Despite there being criticisms regarding Tamim Iqbal's strike rate in the ongoing Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019-20, Dhaka Platoon coach Mohammad Salahuddin has said that he is happy with Tamim's batting in the tournament.
Tamim has till now scored 318 runs in his eight innings in this BPL, averaging 53 and at a strike rate of 115. His average has been extraordinary considering T20 standards but his strike rate has been deemed by the fans to be too low.
Salahuddin though does not think in that way and has said that Tamim has a specific role in the team and he has been playing accordingly.
"Tamim has a different role in our team because, for me, Tamim being at the wicket is an advantage. We have a lot of power-hitters in the end, so it is more important for someone to play a long innings. That is why I am personally satisfied with how Tamim is playing. When he plays for the national team, his role might be different but for this team, I think how he has been playing is perfect," the veteran coach said.
He also added that the anchor role was not specifically provided to someone, but he believed that Tamim staying at the crease is important. He said, "The anchor role is not specifically given to someone. I think that it is important to stay at the wicket. Because with Tamim's ability, he can make up for it in the end and he has been doing that. That is why I am happy with him."
Dhaka Platoon are currently third in the BPL with 12 points and are on the verge of qualification for the playoffs. Questioned if he is eyeing the top two spot, Salahuddin replied, "I am not thinking about being in the top two right now. It is more important to secure a place in the playoffs now. The next match is important, we can ensure a playoff spot with a win. Then we will see if we can be in the top two."
He further added, "There is obviously some advantage if you reach the playoffs. Then you will think that you have two matches in hand but still, that is in the future. Securing a playoff spot is more important now, then we will decide where we want to end up."
He also said that it is important for the players to sustain their confidence and to keep the team's momentum going. He said, "I don't how the tournament has shaped till now. Though I think that Rangpur's run rate is not in a good state. But still, I will say that many things can happen in the tournament. There are a lot of important matches left. I am not thinking about the future right now. The next match is important. When you lose your momentum in a tournament it is tough for you to come back. So I think that every match is important and the next match is even more. Especially for the players' confidence to sustain. Maybe we will lose, maybe we will win. What I think is we need to make sure that the players keep their confidence."
Dhaka Platoon has relied on their local players more than their foreign ones and with Mr Salahuddin as their coach, that is not surprising. Mr Salahuddin also spoke about that saying that the formation of Dhaka Platoon has been a bit different from the other sides as he believed that no team can do well without their local players performing.
"I think our strategy is a bit different among the teams because we are the only team to depend more on the local players, local players play in the top five. This is good for the local players. Every player has an important role in the team like the lower-order batsmen will finish the innings. Considering that, our team, our formation is a bit different," Mr Salahuddin said.
He further added, "If you look at my past, you will see that I always prefer local players. I prefer them because seven local players play in the team, their roles are vital. If they don't perform well, however good the foreign players are, it is tough to win a tournament. That is why I think that it is important to prefer local players in such tournaments. If the local players do well and the overseas recruits support them, the team gels well."
Mr Salahuddin is the only local head coach of this BPL and when questioned about this, Salahuddin said that he did not concern himself with these matters.
"I don't think about me being the local coach among all the foreign coaches. To me, it is more important how I am doing. Who else is coaching here is not important to me, I don't think much about the other teams. When the players of my team do well, that feels like success to me. What the others are doing is not my headache," the Dhaka coach said.
Mr Salahuddin also said that the fixture of the ongoing BPL could have been better because teh players need to rest in a tournament like this. He said, "I think the fixture could have been better. We played three matches in the first three days, this becomes a bit tough for the players. All these matches are pressure matches. If the players had enough rest I think it would have been better. We also have to play three matches within four days in the end. That is why it would have been better for everyone if the fixture was better," he said.
Dhaka will face Rangpur Rangers in their next game on January 8 as they will look to secure a playoff spot with two games to go.