Comilla Victorians is a cricket franchise which plays in the Bangladesh Premier League(BPL). The Comilla-based franchise is currently led by former Australian captain Steve Smith and coached by Mohammad Salahuddin.
Comilla Victorians were created in an attempt to expand the scope of the Bangladesh Premier League in its third edition, by replacing the division based teams with city-based teams. Comilla is one of the largest cities of the Chittagong division of Bangladesh. The franchise rights were sold to Nafisa Kamal, owner of the Legends Sporting Limited after a bidding process.
Comilla’s journey over the BPL seasons has been a mixed affair. After winning the title in their maiden appearance, the next two seasons ended in an inconsistent note.
For the BPL 2018-19, they have roped in Steve Smith who will lead the side. It will be his second global T20 league appearance after the ball tampering episode.
Achievements and positive points
The biggest achievement of the franchise till date has been becoming champions in their maiden BPL.
Abu Hider, their leading wicket taker was named the Bangladeshi -player of the tournament while their all-rounder Ashar Zaidi was awarded the Player of the Tournament.
The BPL 2016 was heavily disappointing for the Comilla Victorians as they not failed to retain the trophy but also finished just one above the bottom.
This season there was high uncertainty of their newly signed skipper Steve Smith to be allowed to play in the tournament following his ban from international cricket due to the ball tampering case. However he has been sanctioned to play by the BCB.
Comilla Victorians responded to most of its critics,in its first year, by putting up a strong performance led by skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and players who went onto win individual awards in the tournament.
That season they had bought players like Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Mashrafe Mortaza and overseas stars like Shoaib Malik and Andre Russell. Still they were touted as one of the weakest towns. Their start to the campaign had been somewhat similar with a loss to Dhaka Dynamites. However, they made an impressive comeback and went onto win the league. They won the tournament by defeating Barisal Bulls in a closely contested finals.
2016 was rather a forgettable season. They could not capitalize on their well-built squad and finished 6th. Even with players like Ahmed Shehzad, Rashid Khan, Marlon Samuels and skipper Mashrafe Mortaza they lost 5 games in a row.
After a disappointing second season, they returned to the league in 2017 with strong firepower in the likes of captain Tamim Iqbal, wicket-keeper Jps Butler, Colin Munro and Hassan Ali. Afghani star Rashid Khan and Caribbean batsman Marlon Samuels were retained from the previous season. They performed really well in the group stage thereby topping the league stage.
However, in the Qualifier 2 they lost to Rangpur Rivals in a controversial affair. The match was called off on the scheduled day due to rains and contested on the following day, which was against the bylaws of BPL. The rule provided that if a match was called off the team with a higher ranking in the group stage would progress through, which in this case, should have been Comilla Victorians. Naturally the team’s management was very angry.
For the 2018-19 BPL, international stars like Steve Smith and Shahid Afridi have been added to the squad. Comilla have begun their journey following a win against Sylhet Sixers thanks to a Shahid Afridi cameo.
Here are some statistical data of the previous 3 seasons:-
|Season ||Position||Captain||Best batsman||Best bowler||Win percentage|
|2015||1st (Champions)||Mashrafe Mortaza||Imrul Kayes (312 runs)||Abu Hider (21 wickets)||75.00%|
|2016 ||6th||Mashrafe Mortaza||Marlon Samuels(334 runs)||Rashid Khan(13 wickets)||41.67%|
|2017||3rd||Tamim Iqbal ||Tamim Iqbal(332 runs) ||Hasan Ali(16 wickets)||64.28%|