While the national cricketers are gearing up for the upcoming home series against Sri Lanka, the excitement among domestic cricketers is also high as the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM) is all set to start the Dhaka Premier League from May 31.
The 2019-20 season's league was postponed on March 19 last year after just one round due to the outbreak of coronavirus in the country. CCDM chairman Kazi Inam Ahmed earlier revealed that the league will have a fresh start and will be played in T20 format instead of the usual fifty-over format.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board did start the National Cricket League -- the first-class competition -- in March this year but that too was suspended after two rounds owing to a fresh upsurge in Covid cases.
It was learnt that the board will monitor the entire procedure and logistics of the league which was previously done by the clubs.
The CCDM will conduct the first Covid tests of all the players and officials on May 26 while the second test will be carried out May 29 before the teams check in at the hotels.
It was also learnt that the players of the 12 clubs will be kept in three separate five-star standard hotels in the capital and the games will take place in three venues -- BKSP 3, 4, and the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. The organisers have also kept the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah as a reserve venue.
The board will create a bio-secure bubble to ensure the health and safety of the players and support staff.
"It's a big challenge, to be honest, for all of us. But I must mention the support from the clubs and the senior players to restart the league. We are hopeful of providing all the necessary health protocol and ensure safety of all the individuals related to the league," CCDM's member secretary Ali Hossain told The Daily Star yesterday.
The clubs have already chalked out their plans for the upcoming league. Mohammedan Sporting Club, who have roped in Shakib Al Hasan, are set to start their residential training camp from May 19.
"Obviously it's a different challenge in the pandemic but we are looking forward to it. I am not sure whether I will be allowed to watch the games from the field as a club official, but I have to accept that for the safety of everyone and complete the league successfully," Mohammedan official Tarikul Islam Tito said.
It has been a long wait for the domestic cricketers, especially the ones outside the national set-up, to see the resumption of the league, which is the biggest source of income for the majority of the players.
"We are excited to be able to return to the field again. It's been a tough time for those of us outside the national set-up and we were desperate to play the league," said former national cricketer Marshall Ayub, who will play for Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club.