Vol. 5 Num 549 Mon. December 12, 2005  

Set to see many firsts
Premier Division League from today

The Premier Division Cricket League will see a lot of firsts when the most colourful domestic competition involving twelve Dhaka clubs kicks off today.

The championship for the first time will be held all over the country instead of being staged at some selected venues of the capital. The League will also see colour clothing and white ball in lieu of a traditional white dress and a red ball. Recently introduced power play in international one-day matches and super-subs will also be effective in the 50-overs-a-side contest.

Unfortunately, the other first in this year's tournament is that the Premier League will commence without a sponsor. But for cricket lovers who like to see a title sponsor's name before the Premier Division Cricket League they can this time call it the 'CCDM Premier Division Cricket League'.

But apart from the sponsorship debacle the League this year promises to get its vibrant soul back with the return of national cricketers in the competition after missing it for the last couple of years due to international commitments.

A fierce fight on the field is also on the cards after six clubs including debutants Sonargaon Cricketers spend a lot to make a balanced team.

Cricket fans however might find it very difficult to follow the hectic schedule with record six matches to be played on a single day.

Besides three Dhaka venues, League matches will also be held in Bogra and Comilla.

Former Bangladesh captain Akram Khan will lead the title-defence of Old DOHS against Sonargaon Cricketers at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium. The game has created enormous interest due to a star-studded Sonargaon line-up that includes Mohammad Ashraful, ace left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique and dashing opener Al-Shahriar.

While Sonargaon will bank on an all-local line-up for a dream Premier League debut, DOHS will enjoy the services of Kenyan batsman Steve Tikolo, who switched to the new town outfit from Mohammedan this year.

National top-order batsman Tushar Imran will lead last year's runners-up City Club against Kalabagan Krira Chakra. The match at the Fatullah Stadium will also mark the Dhaka debut of former Zimbabwe skipper Tatenda Taibu for City Club.

Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar will lead formidable Mohammedan Sporting Club against Agrani Bank at the BKSP. With his deputy Khaled Mashud, who led Victoria Club to title glory twice, alongside him Bashar is set to make his second attempt to bring back the title to the tent of the popular Motijheel outfit who has been starving for success for quite sometime.

Mohammedan's bitter rivals Abahani however will rely on a team sans any brand name to live-up to their high reputation when they take on Indira Road KC at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogra.

Bangladesh Biman, buoyed by national opener Javed Omar, Shahriar Hossain, skipper Sanwar Hossain and all-rounder Mushfiqur Rahman, will start their campaign against Ehsanul Haque-led Brothers Union at the Comilla Stadium.

Two-times champions Victoria, which formed a mediocre team, will play against Orient Sporting Club in another match at BKSP. Victoria however signed up Pakistani all-rounder Zafar Kuraise to bolster their unimpressive line-up.

Dec 12: DOHS v Sonargaon (DCS), City v Kalabagan (FCS), Victoria v Orient (BKSP), Biman v Brothers (Comilla), Abahani v Indira Road (Bogra), Mohammedan v Agrani (BKSP).
Dec 15: DOHS v Kalabagan (Bogra), Orient v Sonargaon (Comilla), City v Brothers (DCS), Victoria v Indira (BKSP), Biman v Agrani (BKSP), Abahani v Mohammedan (FCS).
Dec 18: DOHS v Orient (FCS), Brothers v Kalabagan (DCS), Indira v Sonargaon (BKSP), City v Agrani (Bogra), Victoria v Mohammedan (Comilla), Biman v Abahani (BKSP).