Bangladesh domestic news October 2, 2012

Teething problems ahead of new-look NCL


Bangladesh's 2012-13 domestic season will kick-off with a new-look National Cricket League, with the opening match between defending champions Rajshahi Division and Dhaka Division starting October 14 to be played with the pink-ball and under lights at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

But even the novelty of the new ball or the introduction of two major steps - franchise system for the teams and the players' salary structure - have failed to ensure anything but the typical build-up to the country's only first-class competition. Six of the eight participating teams are only beginning to train less than two weeks before such a grueling competition, while the Bangladesh Cricket Board is expected to finance half the number of teams.

Indifference towards the first-class game has meant that the BCB were able to woo only four companies to buy franchises, ESPNcricinfo has learnt, two of which already own teams in the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20s and the 50-over competition, the Dhaka Premier League. It is also not clear which of the first-class teams will have franchisees. The other major step - the salary structure for the 105 first-class cricketers that was announced in August and set to be implemented from the new season - is also designed to inject much needed motivation for the players in the longer version. But the long-running infrastructural deficiencies in many parts of the country have stymied most of the cricketers to stay indoors rather than train in proper facilities.

Essentially, a squad preparing for a first-class tournament needs at least two months to prepare. It begins with heavy fitness work. Cricketers these days also spent a considerable time in the gym during the off-season, but those living in the smaller cities in Bangladesh do not have access to such services. Even proper cricket training can be troublesome for many of them as facilities at the stadiums are not maintained properly or made available to the region's top cricketers. The BCB-provided budget for the divisional authorities only allows running of practice for a few weeks ahead of the competition.

The Chittagong players have tried to begin early but have not been helped by poor facilities at the MA Aziz Stadium. Last season's runners-up Khulna Division and Barisal Division have done training haphazardly with only the players based locally taking part in organised training while those settled in the country's capital have been training separately. The two Dhaka-based sides - Dhaka Division and Dhaka Metropolis - haven't started a camp despite the availability of excellent facilities. Players from both teams have informed that they usually start 7-10 days before the competition, while Rangpur Division began their training on October 1, exactly two weeks ahead of the tournament.

Only the first-class cricketers in Rajshahi have taken up it upon themselves to train during the off-season and in the lead-up into the pre-season, a model followed by senior cricketers in Sylhet only in the last two years.

Rajshahi Division have held their tradition of beginning training well ahead of time, at the academy the players help built. "The players have been training for a few months," said former Bangladesh captain Khaled Mashud, who is still involved with the Rajshahi divisional cricket team. "We have been training since the off-season for the a long time now, but it is better these days since there's the academy. This place helps run the training smoothly. The players use the facilities at the cricket academy: the stadium's outfield, nets and gym."

Sylhet too have started early with senior cricketers Rajin Saleh, Alok Kapali and Tapash Baisya running the show at the divisional stadium. "We have trained for the last four months. We have paid for it ourselves, whatever that we have needed starting from practice balls, netting, etc," said Saleh, whose cricket academy is heavily used for the divisional team's training camp.

But the weather hasn't been kind to the team that finished third in last season's competition. "This region has more rainy days during the summer so it has been frustrating. We are a divisional side but there is no indoor facility, so we have to be patient with the weather," he said.

The BCB's tournament committee is confident of the October 14 start, but they are yet to receive the consignment of pink balls to be used for the opening match, which would also mean rushed preparations for Rajshahi Division and Dhaka Division who will be playing the game under lights in Mirpur, a first-ever in the country.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Bangladesh

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 5, 2012, 18:45 GMT


  • Dummy4 on October 5, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    what i do not get is why BCB is continuing with the 50 overs Dhaka Premier League. its not even recognized as List A matches. So why play it and make it a compact cricketing calender and sacrificing other important tournaments' duration. We stopped the first class tournament in mid way to accomodate the DPL??!!! how surprising can that be?? I think DPL should be stopped and the duration of the NCL List A and first class matches should be increased so more matches can be played to give the players more exposure. And i also agree woth Mr. M Asaduzzaman Mishu to start a district competition as second tier of NCL...DPL can be kept for under 19 players if needed to giv them practice for under 19 tournaments but certainly not for players who crossed that stage and want to enter the national team.The four tier system of DPL is taking up a lot of space and time in the BD cricket calender and creating adverse impacts.

  • Dummy4 on October 5, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    @Meety ... I accept your issue. Our domestic structure should be high quality like other top test nation. Every FC teams should have A team, Academy, U-18, U-16, U-14 teams, also they should have their own Stadium, indoor training facilities, Gym etc. BCB should arrange FC team's age groups championship, A team championship regularly. Should bring high quality team director/ head coach for each FC team who will handle Academy and age groups as well with those team's coach. Also BCB should arrange District Cricket League regularly which should have 3 days and 1 day competition under Division. It will be second tier of domestic cricket.

  • Andrew on October 4, 2012, 23:41 GMT

    @Arafat Habib - in Australia we only have 10 Shield matches (per state),+ the Final. It is quality not quantity that is the issue here. == == == Please publish - my other 2 longer comments weren't & it is annoying!

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    @ Kanas. You have just writen what I was thinking in reply. I feel Abdur razzak really need to develop some more trick with his bowling otherwise bring another specialist spinner to support shakib. he is too predictable sometimes and cost us many games in the past and the one vs NZ especially toward the end. I believe BD batting is really good when their not under pressure. they have been batting well in many occasions as far i can recall their bowling has put them down. fast bowlers may be hard to produce in Ban having said that, fast bowling is not all about bowling express fast, it requires tricks like malinga does. our fast bowlers need to adapt to situation. need to be clever, even Afg showed better with the ball than BD. their bowlers were not bowling more than 135km.

  • kanas on October 4, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    @mahfuz khan: See ,I am a big fan of BD cricket team and a big hater of BD fans. Would love to see BD do well,but the aftermath of a good performance from their fans is the biggest worry.. All BD needs is a good fast bowler(which we Indians ourself dont have) and another shakib. Its really disheartening to see the team letting shakibs hardwork go in vain.

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2012, 18:39 GMT

    I completely agree with Mr. Arafat Habib ......... Eight teams should play twice with each other, which means each team will play 14 FC matches per year with home & away system. Also BCB should arrange 14 ListA matches per year for each team.

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    Introducing fanchisees will not improve anything if the number of games are not increased. Playing only 7 first class matches in a session is pathetic.

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    @ kanas. we havnt produced that many good cricketers. we lose because we make the mistake over an over. we know by including too many left arm spinners we suffered previously but manage keep on doing that. our batting is not too bat. we need produce some really good bowlers from domestic who will ball well in given circumstaces. we have really good allrounders and batsmans but no reliable bowlers like Ajmal, malinga, mendis,narine,. we atleast one bowler like them.

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    @Narbati! Thanks at least you clicked on the article and posted a comments saying no body care. But you proved it yourself :D

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