Bangladesh national team members shifted their focus on second round of National Cricket League after Australia unilaterally postponed their two-Test series against Tigers citing safety concerns.
The Tigers were busy preparing themselves for the series that was scheduled to begin from October 9 in Chittagong. But they have been released to join their respective divisions on Friday after Australia’s decision.
The second round of NCL begins today with Khulna facing Dhaka Metropolis at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in one top-tier match. Reigning champions Rangpur will take on Dhaka at the Shaeed Chandu Stadium in Bogra in the other first tier match.
‘As we are free now it will be wise to play in NCL,’ said Imrul Kayes, who will return for his Khulna division. ‘Because there will be national cricketers in all the teams, it will also raise the competitiveness of the tournament,’ he said.
‘It will also give us some much required match practice considering that we will be playing Test matches in the coming days,’ he said.
Dhaka captain Mamhudullah, who scored just 16 runs in the first round, was hoping to hit form in the second round against Rangpur.
‘Because of international commitments we can’t play the tournament too often even if we wish. Now that there is a chance and we need to encash it by improving our temperament,’ he said.
While there is a challenge for supremacy in the first tier, it’s a different battle altogether in the second tier where each divisions will be playing to be in the first tier.
Chittagong and Rajshahi are eager to get their foot in the first tier and both the teams believe that with the presence of national players, they have a good chance to be in the top four.
Barisal will play against Rajshahi at their own den while in the other match of the second round Chittagong will play against Sylhet at Fatullah.
National selector Minhajul Abedin said that the players should take the challenge and that would also help their side.
‘I think some of the national players have serious divisional responsibilities in NCL. Like the presence of Tamim Iqbal and Mominul Haque certainly increase the depth of our batting and gives a chance to be elevated,’ said the Chittagong official.
Sakib al Hasan will play the second round but will leave then for the US to be with his wife, who is expected to give birth of their first child within couple of months.
-With New Age input