The Bangladesh Cricket Board will allow the country's contracted players only two No Objection Certificates (NOC) per year to play in overseas leagues, according to board CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury.

Bangladesh's contracted players were informed of the decision - which is effective immediately - through a letter that detailed the new restrictions. The leagues included in the restrictions are of all formats, and the board made it mandatory for players to participate in Bangladesh's first-class tournaments.

"It is a principled, policy decision of the board," Chowdhury said. "We will allow two NOCs per year. It will be on a case-by-case basis and it is with immediate effect. We want to give them enough rest and manage their injuries. We want to ensure all our players are available for international matches."

Debbabrata Paul, the secretary of the Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh, disagreed with the BCB's decision. "This cannot happen and this doesn't happen anywhere in the world. It is being forced on the players. They are simply being deprived," Paul said. "We were not informed about it. We will definitely have to talk about it with the players."

Chowdhury did not specify what triggered this decision, but ESPNcricinfo understood it had to do with Bangladesh's disastrous tour of South Africa. The move would mostly affect Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh's busiest cricketer, who has been playing the IPL, BBL, PSL and CPL for several years. The likes of Tamim Iqbal, Mustafizur Rahman and Mahmudullah had also started to feature in T20 leagues other than the IPL. Tamim, Shakib and Mustafizur were picked to play in a T10 competition next month.

Limiting the number of NOCs is an unprecedented move from the BCB. The board has refused NOCs in the past, especially in the case of Shakib, when he was banned for six months in 2014. But Shakib's punishment was soon lifted, after a string of strong performances from the allrounder for the national side.

The contacted Bangladesh players, however, did not wish to comment. It was learned that the BCB had recently restricted national players from talking to the media about certain issues.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84