The Bangladesh Cricket Board has instructed all national players to be a part of their First Class competition called the ‘National Cricket League’ (NCL), according to the latest cricket news coming from the Asian nation. Only those players who are not available due to injuries will be exempted from playing the tournament. The NCL has been looked upon as a platform for practice before Bangladesh begin their World Test Championship campaign against India.
The players have not participated in a lot of Test matches in recent times owing to the World Cup 2019 and some other bilateral series involving shorter formats. They are aware of the practice and fitness they will need to give a tough competition to the Indian team in India. Therefore, the domestic cup will be of great help for the players to know their current form and it will also help the selection process.
Some cricketers like Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mehidy Hasan will look forward to the NCL as match practice rather than an opportunity for a Test spot. The India vs Bangladesh schedule marks the start of the series from 3 November, but the 3 T20Is will be played first. This will help the players who only play Test cricket and/or will not be playing the T20I series in India.
Bangladesh selectors might want to wait till the end of 12 games by 27 October 2019 which will give them a better update on the form of the cricketers and it will be easier for them to decide whom to pick and who to leave out. They would have their squad of 15 in mind by now, but a First Class tournament ahead of an international series always gives a better insight on player’s performances. The tournament may also find a new player who may surprise India and be the visitors’ X-factor in the series which might be the difference between the teams.
Eight more games will be played in the NCL before the Test series starts. The selectors might hold back a senior player who might not be playing up to expectations till the T20I series ends and then take a call on the player. The distance between the two countries gives a slight advantage to the selectors to take a call on the players as late as possible.
Till the time this article was written, some senior players had already put their best foot forward in the first game and started performing well for their teams. Taijul Islam has recorded figures of 9/197 for Rajshahi Division. Mushfiqur Rahim has scored 75 in the first innings against them for the Dhaka Division. Imrul Kayes scored an unbeaten double hundred for the Khulna Division. Abdur Razzak picked 4/81 in the only innings he bowled for Rangpur Division. Mahmudullah scored 63 for Dhaka Metropolis.
There also have been some good performances from emerging players. Taibur Rahman has scored 88 in each innings. Kamrul Islam Rabbi picked up 6/24 for Barisal Division. Tasamul Haque scored 90 and 53 for Chittagong Division. Arafat Sunny took 6/84 for Dhaka Metropolis. Such players might also get an opportunity to play in India if they keep performing consistently till the cut-off date for selection.