Bangladesh's domestic cricket is all set to return to the field with the National Cricket League (NCL), the most prestigious first-class cricket event in the country after more than a year.
Eight teams, seven from divisional regions and one from Dhaka city, will participate in this event starting from March 22.
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak throughout the world, every event of last year's domestic season was called off.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board, however, organised two events – BCB President's Cup and Bangabandhu T20 Cup – at the end of the last year to bring the national cricketers back to the game.
The Covid-19 pandemic unfolded when Dhaka Premier Divison Cricket League started, and the only first round of the games was played.
Right after that, all the cricketing activities were on put on hold in the country until September last year following the government instruction.
However, as the Covid-19 situation is somewhat under control in the country, BCB decided to resume domestic cricket with the NCL. But the players lack preparation ahead of the biggest first-class event in the country.
"We will have only five days to prepare as a team ahead of the league," a player from Khulna Division told UNB preferring anonymity.
"I think it is not enough as we are going to play competitive cricket after more than a year. The board should have arranged a practice camp for at least two weeks. It would help the cricketers gain a good physique ahead of the league," he added.
However, the player is happy that the regular domestic season is finally going to make a return. "Many things happened due to the Covid-19 epidemic. We are lucky that we can restart cricket at the domestic circuit."
Another player from Barishal Division said, "My team is yet to start a practice camp with all the members."
"We have been practising ahead of NCL for two days with only a few local players who live in Barishal. The others may join within the next two days," he said.
Nazmul Abedeen Fahim, the cricket advisor of Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP) and former coach and manager of the High-Performance Unit of BCB, told UNB that more time was needed for the cricketers to prepare themselves well ahead of NCL.
"Definitely they needed more time to prepare well," he said on Wednesday while answering a question on the cricketers' lack of preparation.
"To play first-class cricket, the cricketers need to stay with the team for a few weeks or more. Since they were out of the field for more than one year, just practicing for a few days at home is not enough if you want to play first-class cricket. So it would be good for the cricketers if they get more time to prepare."
However, he also said that bringing cricket back to the field is also important so the players should accept the situation and work hard in whatever time they get before the league commences.
Earlier, the BCB said all the players who take part in NCL will be vaccinated ahead of the league. But as of March 17, many players are yet to get the first jab.
Ebadot Hossain, a player national team player from Sylhet Divison, said they were going to take the vaccine before the league hits the field.
"The board is managing vaccine for us. We would like to thank them. We, the members of the Sylhet team, are going to take the vaccine in Sylhet and hopefully within two-three days," Ebadot told UNB on Wednesday.
Source: United News of Bangladesh