National Cricket League 2012-13 October 19, 2012

Focus on internationals in NCL kick-off


Defending champions Rajshahi Division will hog half the attention when they take on Dhaka Division in Mirpur in one of four opening-day matches in the National Cricket League on Saturday. The other half of the attention will be on several Bangladesh players who are expected to play the first two rounds of matches after the Bangladesh Cricket Board made their NCL appearances obligatory ahead of the West Indies series.

The most notable appearance would be that of Tamim Iqbal, captain of Chittagong Division that takes on Dhaka Metropolis at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium on the opening day. Tamim hasn't played in the domestic first-class competition for the past five years. In fact, Chittagong haven't availed his services since he made his Test debut, the last time being in November 2007. Tamim is not the only one however.

Mushfiqur Rahim, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Rubel Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan have also been largely unavailable for the NCL over the past five years, all having played less than ten games each. Among these, only Razzak played last season while Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain and Shafiul Islam didn't play a single NCL game in 2011-12.

Injuries in the case of Mortaza over the last few years and Rubel last season notwithstanding, scheduling difficulty has been the most used justification to explain the no-shows. Most of these players are touring or involved in an international series at home when the first-class tournament is on, but it has been seen on several occasions that the players themselves have been unwilling to play the less glamorous competition.

Shakib, who hasn't been named in the initial Khulna Division squad, will complete his Kolkata Knight Riders campaign in the Champions League Twenty20 on October 21 so he could be expected to make his first appearance for Khulna since December 2008 in the second round of matches from November 2. He played eleven games for Worcestershire in the 2010 season, but hasn't played domestic first-class cricket anywhere since then.

The lack of international-level cricketers in the NCL has upset the image of first-class cricket, and to an extent done disservice to the country's Test fortunes. A long-term solution is hardly on the horizon though later this season the franchise-based first-class tournament could see a lot of these players. Tamim, however, is likely to be playing Twenty20 and two first-class matches in New Zealand at the time.

Despite sharing the focus with the appearance of the Bangladesh cricketers, Rajshahi would be expected to make a winning start as they are the best prepared team having been in training for more than six months. Dhaka Division on the other hand are the least prepared, having held a short campaign for only two weeks leading up to the tournament.

Sylhet and Chittagong have also followed Rajshahi's route of preparation this season but Dhaka Metropolis, Rangpur Division, Barisal Division and Khulna Division have maintained tradition like the Dhaka Division side.

In the other two first-round games beginning on October 20, last season's runners-up Khulna Division play at home against Barisal Division while Sylhet Division play away to Rangpur Division.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Bangladesh

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on October 20, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    @@Ahmed Hussain - they could avoid the 2 imports if they were to stay with just 4 FC teams. They could play each other 3 or 4 times each & the spread of talent would have to be better than now (IMO). That said, they do need to face genuine pace bowlers more often, the trouble is, I doubt many good pace bowlers would want to play on unresponsive pitches. So that is another area where the BCB need to improve - pitch preparation. I don't mind that Bangladesh produce slow low pitches for Tests, they need all the help they can get, but to be remotely competitive overseas, they need to produce a few domestic pitches that have bounce & seam. It is not impossible, it just depends on the soil & grass composition, in Oz soil & grass can be transported 100s of km to get the charactoristics right!

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    Congratulations Tamim on your 176* in NCL today same with Mominul 120*....

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    Tamim is really great asset for the Bangladesh team, I was really impressed by tamim's batting from the very beginning of his international matches. I told my many friends that one day he will realy pearl for the bangladesh. My suggestion for tamim, do not take risk so much, you have enough time in future, try to do some for the country, whole country is waiting for you, Go tamim go, I have a request to BCB, you need to take care of Tamim, he is young boy, we need to respect his emotion besides he lost his father, he is orphan, he has nothing , we are the who are the supported for him can make him comfort him, Please do some for Tamim, Tamim is our real Hero, we have got many things from Tamim, it is time to pay back tamim, Tamim, do not get dishearten, God is with you, and he is the one who can strengthen you and can give you peace in your mind, we are praying for you, do not worry, whole Bangladesh is behind you, I wrote this because you are asset of Bangladesh

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    @Meety...The problem with Bangladesh's 1st Class league is number 1 they do not recruit foreign players and believe a maximum of 2 per side should be used preferably tall fast bowlers that they don't usually face. Number 2, make it mandatory like they're currently doing now for the current Bangladesh national members to play in these NCL games to like you said help the fringe players of Bangladesh plus for themselves. Finally Number 3 the whole system is properly organised instead of postponing it for long periods just for Dhaka Premier League which unfortunately happened last season. At least by that way if you can correct this, Bangladesh Cricket will improve dramatically in quick fashion after all, the second test against Pakistan showed a glimpse on how Bangladesh can do it.

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    To Bangladesh supporters, I think Test Cricket should be stopped in Chittagong and have their remaining 1 of 2 test matches at either Khulna or Fatullah because smaller capacity meaning stands will be filled plus in Fatullah when Test matches use to be played, the matches was very entertaining great place to play Test Cricket in my mind.

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    @Meety...Yes spot on! totally agree which is why the best thing for Bangladesh's Cricket to at least perform a lot better in Tests and make a game out of it instead of it being one-sided is to play in the NCL for all players mandatory right before the Test series so they can set themselves and get use to it. When its the off-season and have a Test series, they should play in A games against the associates like Ireland which by the way was bound to happen had not Zimbabwe postponed the Test series with Bangladesh in August this year. In that time, they could also arrange ODIs and possibly a T20 so that will help the progression of Irish, Scots etc Cricket so really the weaker teams (incl...Ban & Zim) will just benefit by that way.

  • Andrew on October 20, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    @Ahmed Hussain - hit the nail on the head regarding the Zim Test. Prior to that game Zim played A-matches against Saffas & Oz. Bangladesh should of beaten Zim, but a better prepared side prevailed. The same thing happenned when Pakistan toured Bangladesh. In the month between the WI & Paki tour, none of the players except Nazimuddin played FC cricket, he was the only player that fought well against Pakistan in the 1st Test. Bangladesh were many times better in the 2nd Test, big improvement in a short period of time. I agree that it is good that Tamim plays in other FCs, but he really should be playing a few domestic FC games every year, not only helps him, but other fringe Banga Test players!

  • Sohrab on October 19, 2012, 19:55 GMT

    just checked the last match shakib played for wonder he is a superstar

  • Muhammad Rakibul on October 19, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    ''the players themselves have been unwilling to play the less glamorous competition''- if this type of attitudes of Bangladeshi cricketers continues in upcoming years, BD cricket will take some backward steps in Test arena. No doubt T20 format is lucrative with huge amount of money paid to players. But to become a great or at least world-class cricketer, they should play FC matches seriously. They must realize what they need most for the sake of their improvement.

  • Dummy4 on October 19, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    Also only Rajshahi takes this 1st class competitions seriously considering their record. I heard about Tamim is going to travel to New Zealand and play for Auckland or Wellington I believe in 2 four-day games and 10 T20s which is fantastic and something the other Bangladesh players like Rahim needs to do and experience different conditions. The best possible way Bangladesh can better.

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