Former Bangladesh captain and the current member of the selection panel of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), Habibul Bashar, believes this year’s National Cricket League (NCL) will be more competitive.
This year’s NCL, the most prestigious First-class event in Bangladesh, is scheduled to begin on October 17.
A total of eight teams will participate in the event which will be played in four fields in two different venues in Sylhet and Cox’s Bazar.
Bangladesh will play a few Test series after the T20 World Cup which is set to take place next month in Oman and the UAE. Habibul believes the NCL will help the players to prepare well for the Tests coming later this season.
“We are taking much time before this year’s NCL so that the teams can prepare well,” Habibul told the reporters on Sunday.
“Usually teams get only a few days before a season of NCL takes the field. But this time around, we are taking a little more time before the event gets started.”
The selection panel has already announced squads including 20-22 players. All the players are currently going through a fitness training programme. The squad will be shortened to 16 members after a fitness test before the NCL starts. “The main squads will begin their preparation on October 5. Instead of 14, a squad will have a total of 16 players this time so that we can replace players if anyone tests positive for Covid-19. And the wickets are also fresh now. I believe this year’s NCL will be more competitive,” Habibul added. This year’s NCL had a start in March, but due to the Covid-19 restriction the event was cancelled after the two rounds of games. “We will have a good chance to prepare ourselves (playing in NCL) well ahead of the next cycle of Test championship,” Habibul added. “We failed to have a good start in the previous season, and we could not comeback well. We are eager to do well this time. It’s an advantage for us that we can start at home against Pakistan. They are a good team, but the time has come for us to make a comeback.”