Pont delighted with purchases at auction

FORMER Essex cricketer Ian Pont, the newly-appointed head coach of the Dhaka Gladiators, is delighted with his purchases at the recent Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) players’ auction.

The former Witham and Halstead cricketer will oversee some of the biggest names in world T20 cricket following the auction in Dhaka last Wednesday.

Among the franchises signings are Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, who attracted the auction’s highest fee of $700,000 and West Indian specialist Kieron Pollard, who cost $300,000.

Pakistani spin hero Saeed Ajmal, tormentor of England in last week’s First Test in Dubai, signed for Dhaka Gladiators for $100,000 as did his country compatriot Rana Naved for $100,000.

The team was also able to snap up leg spin legend Stuart MacGill from Australia and explosive Pakistani opening batter Imran Nasir for just $50,000 each.

Pont also secured Kent’s Darren Stevens for $25,000 and Worcestershire’s Alexei Kerveeze for $35,000.

Each squad must have eight overseas players, one of who is from an associate country, and 10 local players. The playing eleven must have at least six local players and up to five overseas players in it.

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“It’s an exciting opportunity to lead this team,” said Pont, who was national fast bowling coach for the Bangladesh team for six months up to the 2011 World Cup and knows the conditions well.

“The owners of the franchise contacted me as I know the local players, have worked with them before and I understand the playing conditions in the country. That’s why I wanted sub-continent specialists, explosive batsmen and also cricketers who can work together as a unit under pressure.”

Six teams, Dhaka Gladiators, Chittagong Kings, Sylhet Royals, Khulna Royal Bengals, Barisal Burners and Doronto Rajshahi, will compete in the BPL that takes place between February 10 and 29.

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