Rope in Tamim, Ashraful
Following the footsteps of their traditional rivals, Mohammedan went for a showdown yesterday to confirm the cricketers for the upcoming Premier Division Cricket League battle.
The Black and White's pulled off the biggest surprise for their supporters as they made a coup by alluring national opener Tamim Iqbal from hattrick champions Abahani. The Sky Blues had set a new trend when they brought two big stars Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Shakib Al Hasan into their club tent few days back and then made it public - - a move which is something new in the domestic cricket scene.
Abahani officials had also confirmed the service of Tamim during the occasion but the Chittagonian put pen to paper for Mohammedan yesterday along with former Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful, who returned to the Motijheel tent from Gazi Tank, in front of the exultant club officials.
The Motijheel outfit may have been a bit late but they made a bold statement that they are all set to put aside their disappointment of the last few seasons and served a jolt to their archrivals by roping in Tamim, who has changed his mind after getting a better offer from the Black and White tent.
Though the full team was expected to appear yesterday to confirm their service, only two national stars Ashraful and Tamim turned up. Lutfur Rahman Badal, the chairman of the Mohammedan cricket committee, however announced the names of 12 other cricketers and said that all of them already made a contract with the Black and Whites.
Badal confirmed the names of Nafis Iqbal, elder brother of Tamim, Shamsur Rahman, Aftab Ahmed, Khaled Mashud, Mohammad Shahajada, Delwar Hossain, Emon Hossain, Nabil Samad, Saqlain Sajib, Mahmudullah Riyad, Marshal Ayub and Faisal Hossain.
"Everybody made their contracts with us. It's something new that we announced the names well before the opening of the transfer window and I think there is a lack of confidence about the players," said Badal.
"We had talked with Tamim long ago and we confirmed him after his returning from Malaysia. What we believe that one can only claim that he is their player only after this player put pen on paper," he responded when asked about Tamim's u-turn.
He also informed that Sri Lanka all-rounder Farveez Mahroof all but confirmed to play the whole season for Mohammedan and they may come up with more surprise for everybody to make sure that they would not leave any stones unturned to regain the glory.
Without elaborating, Badal demanded that Tamim and Ashraful would be the highest paid players in this season although Mashrafe and Shakib is believed to get the record amount of Tk 20 lakhs each.
"It is true a discussion was taken place and I had promised Abahani (to play for them in the upcoming season), but nothing was finalised as I did not put pen on the paper, or even taken any advance money from them and I have the right to consider other offers until I strike a deal and I also did the same thing last season," said Tamim, who claimed that he confirmed with Tk 20 lakhs with Mohammedan defending his move.
Ashraful promised a better show this time for the Black and White's and stated that Mohammedan is the number one team on paper in this season.
"I played for Mohammedan in 2007 but could not do enough. But I am confident that things would be different this time. Mohammedan made a champion team this time because it's a balanced side," said the ace batsman.