Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) newcomers Sylhet Strikers are in terrific form. In the first five days of BPL9, Sylhet had four matches scheduled, all of which they won.

Naturally, skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s leadership is being praised after such sparkling performance of the team.

However, after Sylhet’s win over Dhaka Dominators on Tuesday, Mashrafe credited the entire team for the brilliant start to their maiden season.

“Everyone in the team has been trying hard from the get-go. You never know what will happen on the field. We are trying to do right things off the field in hopes that our efforts will reflect on the field. It’s not just about me, it’s about the entire team,” Mashrafe told the media on Tuesday.

Sylhet Strikers have won four in four so far in BPL9
Prothom Alo

Franchises from Sylhet have never fared well at the BPL. In the second edition, Sylhet Royals had made it to the semifinal, which remains the highest success for a team from the region.

This year, Sylhet roped in Mashrafe as a direct signing before the players’ draft and then assembled a team around him.

Sylhet began their campaign with an eight-wicket win over Chattogram Challengers, followed it up by a six-wicket win over Fortune Barishal, a five-wicket win over Comilla Victorians and a 62-run victory over Dhaka Dominators.

Four wins in as many games have placed Sylhet at the top of the points-table with eight points.

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Meanwhile, the first phase of BPL9 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka ended on Tuesday. The teams are now in Chattogram for the second leg which will begin on 13 January.

The ninth edition of the tournament has been criticised for its mismanagement, poor umpiring and a lack of star power. However, Mashrafe sees a silver lining amidst all of this as according to the pacer the pitches at the SBNS during the first leg were ideal for T20 cricket, something which was not seen in earlier editions of the league.

“When the wicket is good, playing good cricket becomes easier. The wickets I saw here (SBNS), were excellent. In wickets like these, we can nurture some good cricketers. This is a big positive thing that amidst so much criticism, the action on the ground has been good,” said the 39-year-old pacer.

Sylhet Strikers' went undefeated in the first leg of BPL9
Prothom Alo

The group-phase of this year’s BPL does not have the Decision Review System (DRS) technology. Instead, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is using Additional Decision Review System (ADRS), a technology that has proven to be mostly ineffective in helping the third umpire make the right decision.

Questions have been raised on the standard of umpiring as well, with multiple players getting into heated arguments with the umpires on the field.

Mashrafe feels that the umpires have to take responsibility to improve the standard of umpiring, “At the end of the day, some questions still remain. But if the umpires can’t improve their standard, it’s their failure. Umpires can be brought in from other countries. But I would say we need to give our umpires a chance. If they can learn something from all of this, then it would be good."

“There will be some wrong decisions, that’s bound to happen as there is no snickometer or hotspot. I think the umpires need to make some brave calls, which we see in foreign league or during international matches. The umpires also need to take some steps to set a higher standard.”