Pont proud of winning title

FORMER Essex cricketer and bowling coach Ian Pont said winning the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League title is one of his most outstanding achievements.

His team the Dhaka Gladiators, romped to an eight-wicket win over the Barisal Burners to secure the BPLT20 title at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.

Pont, who was appointed head coach of the leading franchise, said he was thrilled with the team spirit and effort of his squad that brought the victory. And it was the use of a blend of local and overseas talent that ensured success.

“It is one of my highlights as a coach to win such a prestigious tournament. Having players like Kieron Pollard, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Rana Naved, Azhar Mahmood and Imran Nazir available is a wonderful thing,” said Pont.

“But we used the local talent as well and were not reliant on any one particular player. This, I feel, was the reason for our title victory overall.”

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The BPL saw Chris Gayle make a massive impression with two centuries in the five matches he played and more than 370 sixes hit overall between the six teams over 19 days of the tournament.

Pont, who now lives in Halstead, added: “World-class players such as Gayle, Brad Hodge, Muttiah Muralitharan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Scott Styris, Herschelle Gibbs, Abdur Razzak, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Brad Hogg gave the crowds something to really cheer about.

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“When Afridi arrived after the Pakistan-England series in Dubai, the entire place went mad. It was a roller-coaster ride that you could never relax from. The whole of the BPL captured the imagination and was a great success.”

The Dhaka Gladiators had chosen wisely at player auction and Pont said this was a key factor.

“We sat down and worked out the combination of players we wanted to work with. This type of detail is important for bringing a successful squad together. In the end, we were able to keep everyone motivated and focused. I am thrilled at the outcome.”

The winners of the BPL are now seeking entry into the lucrative Champions League T20 that takes place in India after the T20 World Cup in the autumn.

“To take the side to the CLT20 would be extremely exciting. I am awaiting confirmation of whether we will get an invite. In the meantime I am back in Halstead doing coaching for my Mavericks Cricket Institute and enjoying the cooler weather.”

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