NCL resumes today, asking to be noticed
The focus will be on New Zealand, where the Tigers are now preparing to play a full series, starting with a limited-overs practice match on December 22. It is to be expected that the national heroes will hog the spotlight, especially as they are in a position to take the country's cricket to new heights.
However, when the country's first-class competition, the National Cricket League (NCL), resumes today at four different venues across the country, it deserves the attention of the country's cricketing authorities because although the national team may be the final destination, the first-class competition is the womb for future cricketers. Former captain turned national selector Habibul Bashar aptly said: “The National Cricket League is the base of our cricket.”
In the fourth-round encounters, Khulna will take on Barisal at BKSP, Dhaka and Dhaka Metro lock horns at Fatullah, Rangpur face off with Chittagong at Sylhet while Rajshahi meet Sylhet at Bogra.
Bangladesh cricket recently saw the arrival of some brilliant new talent, with Mustafizur Rahman and Mehedi Hasan Miraz definitely shining brightest among them. Talent-wise, one can easily say that Fizz is a little freakish but still he had some experience of playing first-class cricket while many, including veteran left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, believes that the confidence in Miraz has developed through exposure to first-class cricket.
“Longer-version cricket is nothing new to Mehedi as he has played in the National Cricket League for the last few seasons with utmost sincerity, so he had every chance to make his presence felt in the Test arena,” was the comment from Razzak after Miraz took a five-for on debut against England in October.
So it is important to keep a close eye on the competition, which will resume after a two-month break, even though the national players will not be available for the rest of the competition.
The NCL had been postponed after three rounds due to rain. They had to push the remainder of the league after the Bangladesh Premier League. The postponement of the NCL came at a time when calls for better first-class cricket were being made in Bangladesh. Even after Bangladesh's historic Test victory against England, Bangladesh Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim advocated for a higher level of first-class competition.
The quality of the tournament or the amount of importance that it receives should not fluctuate with regards to the absence or presence of the national cricketers because it is not a question of glamour; the question instead is whether the competition is taking place in a proper manner and under the proper conditions.
It had been a long-standing desire from different quarters that the first-class competition should be played on sporting wickets and that some grassy pitches should be prepared so that our cricketers can become accustomed to the movement when they play in different conditions abroad.
Conditions have improved a little over the last few seasons but everyone is looking forward to seeing matches played on sporting wickets and even on grassy wickets as the weather is now fantastic and the pitches have gotten enough rest.