It was cold and foggy when the first three rounds of the Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) were played, but when the four-day meet resumed after more than two months the players have faced a diametrically opposite challenge in hot and humid conditions.
The weather hogged the spotlight yesterday, ahead of the fifth-round matches, especially as the match between South Zone and Central Zone will take place at the Shaheed Kamaruzzaman Stadium in Rajshahi. The climate of the central city of the northern part of the country is generally marked by high temperatures and considerable humidity during summer.
It will not be much easier for North Zone and East Zone players, who will lock horns at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. That is why former national and current East Zone coach Sarwar Imran gave some advice to his players, especially the pace bowlers, so that they can avoid injuries resulting from the hot weather.
“The first three rounds were played in winter. The matches were interrupted due to dense fogs, which is the reason why most of the matches ended in draws but I am hoping for a result in Mirpur if the wicket is even for both bowlers and batsmen. The players should take special care by taking ice baths in every hour to avoid the dehydration,” Imran told reporters at Mirpur yesterday.
He was however more excited with the progress of the league. “There is only a difference of two points between leaders North Zone (41 points) and East Zone (39 points) while another team (South Zone) is trailing us by just one point. Everything will depend on the last two games,” he said.
So far only one match produced a result, when North Zone beat Central Zone -- who have 29 points -- in their first-round game.
North Zone opener Jahurul Islam was also hoping for a result in Mirpur. “This fifth round is very important as the race is wide open. We are looking for a result in Mirpur as there is a possibility of rain and thundershowers in the coming days,” said Jahurul.
“There is grass on the wicket [in Rajshahi]. I hope it will be a good battle. We are yet to win a match but we will try to make it happen here. Mashrafe (Mashrafe Bin Mortaza) bhai will not play the fifth-round match but he will be available for the last round,” said South Zone skipper Nurul Hasan.
South Zone opener Imrul Kayes, who missed the fourth round, said: “Players are very aware of the hot and humid conditions in Rajshahi and they know how to cope with it.”
Central Zone captain Mahmudullah Riyad echoed the sentiment. “It's too hot but for a professional player it doesn't matter whether it is cold or hot. It seems to be a sporting wicket and I am looking forward to an interesting game here,” said Riyad.