Even before the start of the 21st edition of the country’s oldest four-day domestic competition, the National Cricket League (NCL), has already created more excitement in the cricket fraternity than many previous editions.
With the intention of increasing the standard of cricket, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) raised the bar for fitness requirements -- a leap from last year’s nine to 11 in the beep test -- that players have to meet to be allowed to participate. The board has also talked about taking a sterner stance on the participation of national players in the domestic league this year.
With all the buzz surrounding the competition, the BCB announced the fixtures of the NCL, set to begin from October 10, during a press briefing in Mirpur yesterday. The league will kick off with the first round pitting defending champions Rajshahi Division against Dhaka Division in Fatullah; Rangpur battling it out against Khulna at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna; Barishal face Sylhet in Rajshahi and Dhaka Metro taking on Chattogram in the port city.
Mominul Haque was the only captain to be named so far and he will leading Chattogram, which is also Tamim Iqbal’s hometown. Tamim will be playing the NCL this season but he preferred not to be given the leadership role.
The eight teams will be divided in two tiers with each tier featuring a double league system. The team obtaining the highest point in Tier-1 will be crowned champions while the fourth-placed Tier-1 team will be relegated to Tier-2 for next season. The top-placed Tier-2 side will be promoted to Tier-1.
Although the BCB had mentioned the possibility of increasing match fees in this edition, it will remain the same with Tier-1 players earning Tk 35,000 per match and Tier-2 players netting Tk 25,000 per game. The travel allowance (Tk 1,500) and daily allowance (Tk 2,500) will also remain the same.