Bangladesh's first-class competition, the National Cricket League, has been rescheduled and will commence on January 13 due to unavoidable circumstances, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has stated. The tournament was initially set to begin on Friday (January 1), but hit a major roadblock after leading players threatened to pull out unless the BCB increased their match fees and reverted to the previous format of the four-day competition.
The BCB, however, added that there will be no changes to the format, and that a new itinerary will be announced in due course.
The dispute came about after the BCB altered the existing first-class competition. The number of games has been reduced but the match fees have been increased from 10,000 Taka (US$ 144) to 12,000 Taka (US$ 173). Per this modification, the finalists will play nine matches while the two teams who fail to quality for the Super Four stage will play five matches, which is five less than the previous home-and-away format.
The changes did not go down well with the country's players, not least the leading internationals such as Mohammad Ashraful and Shakib Al Hasan. The Cricketers' Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB) demanded that match fees be fixed at 35,000 Taka (US$ 505) for four-day games, 20,000 Taka (US$ 288) for one-day games, and 10,000 Taka or Twenty20 games. Aside from the issue of remuneration, CWAB also demanded reinstatement of the original format.
Debobroto Paul, the general secretary, said earlier this week that the players preferred to play more longer-version games in a bid to improve cricket, but were waiting for the board to respond.