Country’s premium first-class tournament, the National Cricket League, will begin on Friday through a revised format that will see eight participating teams splitting in two tiers.
Walton will be the title sponsor of the league that is said to have lost some of its gloss in the recent years due to lack of competitiveness. Under the revised format, defending champions Rangpur and runners-up Khulna will play in the top-tier along with Dhaka and Dhaka Metropolitan side. The second tier includes Chittagong, Sylhet, Barisal and Rajshahi.
After the upcoming edition, one team will be promoted to the top tier while another team will be relegated to the second tier, something Bangladesh Cricket Board officials said will ensure competitiveness.
‘It’s true that it [NCL] was regarded as picnic cricket but with the new system in place it won’t be the case as there will be some prestige attached to it,’ BCB’s tournament committee chairman Akram Khan told reporters at the title sponsor unveiling ceremony on Tuesday in Dhaka.
BCB’s media committee chairman Jalal Yunus said he expects the tournament to be competitive as they are opting to play it in a sporting wicket prepared at different venues of the country.
BCB is planning to hold the tournament on home and away basis barring the opening round due to the upcoming Eid-ul Adha on September 25.
‘I think the wickets will be good for all as that remains one of our major concerns before the tournament,’
‘The pace bowlers will have something out of it while the batsmen can also get runs,’ he said.
BCB tournament committee’s failure to raise the match fee of the players, however, appeared to have taken out some shine from the otherwise competitive looking NCL.
While last year a player received Tk 20,000 as match fee, the cricketers of the first tier will get Tk 21,000 this time and cricketers of second tier teams will get Tk 20,000.
Akram said lack of budget compelled them to retain almost the same amount of match fees.
‘Actually we planned to hold the age-group four-day competition from our annual budget that squeezed the money of the senior NCL members,’ he said.
‘We will see whether we can increase the match fee from next year,’ he said.
The four divisions of the first tier will receive Tk five lakh as participating money while the each side of the second tier will get Tk three lakh.
The first tier champions will receive Tk 20 lakh as prize money while the runners-up will be awarded Tk five lakh. The second tier champions will earn Tk five lakh.
-With New Age input