Jannatul Naym Pieal
The 17th National Cricket League (NCL), country’s premium first-class competition, kicks off at country’s four different venues from Friday, with eight participating teams splitting in two tiers.
Defending champions Rangpur will take on Dhaka Metropolitan at Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogra while Khulna will host Dhaka at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in the two first round matches of the top-tier.
In the Tier-2 matches, Rajshahi Division will meet Barisal Division at Shaheed Kamruzzaman Stadium (SKS), Rajshahi and Chittagong Division will take on Sylhet Division at Khan Saheb Osman Ali Stadium (KSOAS), Narayanganj.
All matches will begin at 9:30am local time. According to the new format of the tournament, topper of Tier-2 will be promoted to Tier-1 for the next season NCL while bottom ranked finisher team of Tier-1 will be relegated to Tier 2.
World’s best all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will be the centre of attraction because of his participation in the league after three years. This will be only second time he would play the NCL in last seven years. Since his first class debut in 2005, he played only 13 matches in the NCL. He played three matches in 2005, two in 2006, six in 2007, and one each in 2008 and 2012.
Not only Shakib, the NCL will be also lit up by the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mustafizur Rahman and others. All of them hardly could get the opportunity to play the NCL due to their international commitment.
The national cricketers are expected to play only in the opening round before they resume their preparation for the home series against Australia.