With the National Cricket League (NCL) set to begin from the next month, the players, even those out of the national team’s periphery, have already started their preparation for the first-class tournament.
A number of cricketers, past their prime and have been away from the national side for a considerable amount of time, have a dark cloud hovering over them regarding their participation in the upcoming NCL. Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has raised the fitness requirement which has created concerns for a number of players.
In the previous edition of NCL, BCB allowed players with a minimum beep test score of nine to partici-pate. But this time around the BCB announced that the players need to score at least 11 in order to be considered for the domestic tournament. The beep test is supposed to take place on October 1 in Mirpur.
There has been question over the standard of the domestic cricket for a while now as the tournament does not afford competition anywhere close to the standards of international matches. According to BCB, the decision of raising the bar was taken to make the tournament more competitive.
However, according Mohammad Ashraful, players outside the national team do not get much oppor-tunity to maintain their fitness.
“The beep test mark has now increased from nine to 11. This has been an issue among those of us who play in the domestic league. If all the players who play in the first-class cricket get the facilities then scoring 11 in the beep test would not be an issue. Last year I scored 11.5. It actually becomes tough for the players who are not involved in the HP or even under-23 side to practice all by them-selves.” said Ashraful in Mirpur yesterday.
Ashraful also talked about the need for a place to practice during off seasons.
“During rainy seasons we need indoor facilities to practice. We rarely get these opportunities.” con-cluded the 35-year old.
Shuvagata Hom, another player who regularly plays in the domestic leagues, sounded uncertain about how much the brief training period before the league would help him to prepare.
“It is really tough [to score 11 in beep test]. It is even tougher for us who are out of the national side. We are not able to participate in any camps. A five to seven days of fitness training will be held just before the league starts. I don’t know how much it will help us to improve.”