Local batsmen need to shine for Sylhet

Imrul Kayes reaches 50 Getty Images

Big Picture

Not picking a full, contemporary batsman of international quality could haunt Sylhet Royals later in the competition but as of now, the owners Walton Group and friends are happy to be counted as the most glamorous franchise in the BPL.
The brunt of the batting will fall on Imrul Kayes, Shuvagata Hom and icon Alok Kapali with support from Pakistan's Kamran Akmal and Faisal Iqbal. The veteran all-rounder Azhar Mahmood and Peter Trego will also need to make contributions with the bat. The Royals have enough bowlers to call into action.

Coach Stuart Law has Sohail Tanvir, the best bowler in IPL 2008, as well as Rubel Hossain, Gary Keedy, born-again Brad Hogg and promising legspinner Noor Hossain in the mix.

The little-known Freddie Klokker and locals Naeem Islam, Faisal Hossain, Nadif Chowdhury and Arafat Salahuddin will provide much-needed balance to a team that has a sound support staff and former selectors in charge. Sylhet has an uphill battle at hand as it is likely that they will fight for the last semi-final spot against Barisal and Dhaka.

Star Attraction

Brad Hogg feels like 21 again; Sylhet will need all of his re-energised body if they are to win games in the competition. The Western Australian left-arm chinaman has returned from retirement and walked straight back into the Australia Twenty20 team after a stunning Big Bash League campaign.
His 13 wickets for Perth Scorchers will be encouragement enough for coach Law, who would also want Hogg to contribute with the bat if the top order doesn't hold up.

Top player

In a team that boasts very few stars, the opener Imrul Kayes stands out on current form on pitches where the tournament will be played. The left-hander had a terrible 2011 after a productive 2010 but since being dropped during the latter part of the international season in Bangladesh, he has bounced back.
Seven half-centuries and two centuries for Mohammedan Sporting Club and Bangladesh A have put Kayes back in contention. If (and that's a big if) Kayes can give Sylhet the starts required, he could do himself more of a favour. The jury still being out on him, it could serve as the perfect motivation in his quest to return for the Asia Cup.

Under the radar

Don't be surprised if a slightly rotund medium-pacer trundling up from a short run-up turns out for Sylhet. The under-rated Arafat Salahuddin could turn heads for his shape (and size, though he is no Dwayne Leverock), but the man from Mymensingh is a proven performer in the domestic circuit for the past eight seasons.
His List-A numbers are good but what might deter him is his lack of Twenty20 experience. But for a crisis, Salahuddin is as solid as anyone in the country with both ball and bat.