Defending champions of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Rangpur Riders captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza on Saturday said the absence of Hales and Villiers will bother them in the upcoming matches of the league.
The Bangladesh ODI captain Masrhafe said this at a press conference after his team’s victory against Comilla Victorians on Saturday.
Rangpur Riders have already advanced to the playoffs with highest points from the league stage where Alex Hales and AB de Villiers have played big roles for them. But, they will not be available in remaining matches of BPL for the Riders.
“Hales already went back and AB is also set to go back home. We knew that AB will leave the tournament after playing six matches and we are mentally prepared to face the situation. Anything can happen in this kind of tournament. Anyone can get injured at any stage of the league.”
“We did not think any way to replace Hales yet. We are lucky that Hales scored ample of runs for the team in Chattogram. Wickets of Dhaka are different from others. Now things will be depends on the local guys. They have to understand that they are also capable of doing what Hales and AB did for the team,” Mashrafe further said.
Alongside the absence of Hales and AB, the defending champions have another big concern that West Indian hitting batsman Chris Gayle’s off-form as he could not perform as expected yet.
“Look, there are many things in cricket that you cannot predict. Even, you cannot guarantee that he (Gayle) will score big today. But yes, he is (Gayle) such a player who can change a match single-handedly. He has proved it not only in the last season of BPL but also in other T20 leagues around the world,” Mashrafe told the reporters.
“I think our local players should step up forward. I always say the performance of the local guys is most important for a team to win the title of BPL,” the captain of the Riders further said.
In BPL, Hales played eight matches for the Riders and scored 304 runs with one century and two fifties while AB played six matches and struck 247 runs with a century to his name.