'NCL will be adequate preparation for Pakistan Tests'
Bangladesh national team selector Habibul Bashar said that the upcoming National Cricket League (NCL) will be adequate preparation for the two Tests against Pakistan -- part of the ICC World Test Championship -- in November-December.
This home series against Pakistan is set to be the Tigers' first assignment after the upcoming T20 World Cup, which will be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14.
The NCL had to be initially postponed and later cancelled last year due to complications arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Although other domestic international and local cricket fixtures took place in bio-bubbles, the travelling during NCL matches led to problems. Bashar said that the upcoming NCL in October is likely to be played in two venues.
"One of the main reasons that the NCL stopped after commencing was the issue of travelling. We wanted team to play both home and away. But we're still battling with Covid-19 and travelling is risky. As far as I know, the games will take place at two venues at Cox's Bazar and Sylhet," Bashar informed the media today.
Squads of 20-22 members have been formed for the upcoming NCL and the players will also get a months' time to prepare themselves. "The wickets got a bit of rest so we're hoping for a competitive tournament," Bashar said.
"We have a few Test matches right after the World Cup. It's a good opportunity to prepare players. We didn't get much a chance to play Tests. Obviously, there is a difference between a practice match and a competitive match. I think NCL will be adequate preparation before the Pakistan series," he added.
Bangladesh lost the one-off Test against Pakistan in February last year before the pandemic curtailed opportunities for international tours. Pakistan won the Test by an innings and 44 runs. Bashar said: "We have to struggle if we want to compete. We don't want to repeat what happened last time."
The Test series will mark the beginning of Bangladesh's campaign in the ICC WTC cycle 2.