First-class cricket or cruise cricket?

March 13, 2017 - Picnic Time

Nafees Iqbal would never forget a day his uncle Akram Khan asked him to play in a National Cricket League in 1999. “I walked opposite a highway from my residence to a MA Aziz Stadium with my whites. we went into a dressing-room, felt a small intimidated with so many comparison players around. We fielded first, and Saifullah Magsi struck 170-odd. Soon it was a spin to bat, and I done 126. My whole family had come to see a game, and it was such a unapproachable moment.”

That was a initial spin of a NCL’s initial season, about a year before Bangladesh played their inaugural Test. There had been dual and three-day matches in Bangladesh in a National Cricket Championship, though it was sporadic. The NCL was shaped to parasite one of a boxes that led to Bangladesh’s Test status, and a few seasons after it was given first-class status. So like Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, Bangladesh would also get their Test standing before their domestic long-format contest got first-class status.

At a time, it was approaching to be a theatre for destiny Bangladesh Test cricketers to rise a skills, genius and spirit for a longer period. It was divided into a internal headquarters, definition room was left for players from outward a categorical cities and towns to get a chance. While that has happened in a final dual decades, usually a few, incredibly, have come by a first-class system.


Habibul Bashar was confronting a comparison gait bowler in a nets during a early days of Bangladesh’s first-class season. The bowler ran in, and unexpected rather than streamer down his over-the-wicket path, he bowled around a wicket. Bashar was stunned, scarcely took a round on his gloves though it strike a tip of his bat-handle.

“What was that?” Bashar asked.

“You will play a lot of first-class and Test cricket. These things will occur once in a while”, was a response from a other end.

Bashar smiled and went behind to confronting a subsequent bowler.

In reality, a comparison quick bowler had missed his run-up, so usually for a consequence of it, he bowled from a other side. He was famous for his quirky side, so Bashar didn’t mind.

That was a one-off humorous incidemt though opposite a country, cricketers did try to figure out a longer chronicle in those days. Some suspicion batting with a heavier bat would assistance them, others felt a lighter bat would give them a advantage. Those in Rajshahi figured it was aptness that would assistance them during a prohibited four-day match. Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet banked on their aptitude and talent, though that didn’t final long.


The guarantee of a NCL gave divided distant too quickly. Within a few seasons, it began to be referred as picnic cricket by players who would simply spin adult for a matches and go by a motions. The income concerned in a NCL was many reduction than what they warranted in a Dhaka Premier League, a country’s many critical foe for decades.

The power too was vastly underwhelming in a first-class tournament. While a one-day format of a Dhaka Premier League had players confronting vigour on a daily basis, there was a noisy overpower while personification a first-class game. Those using a internal teams were uncertain what to tell a players even if they did badly. For places like Barisal, a same players continued for many years given there was no internal talent being developed. When a talent pool dusty adult in Chittagong and Sylhet, a administrators frequency bothered.


It was approaching that Bangladesh’s Test group would advantage from a domestic first-class stage though it was a Dhaka Premier League and recently a BCB’s girl programmes that have had a many impact.

Bangladesh didn’t have a advantage that Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe had – both countries played long-version cricket for a while before they played their initial Tests in 1982 and 1992 respectively.

Sri Lanka didn’t indeed get central first-class standing for their domestic matches until a late 1980s – i.e. prolonged after they had got Test status. The premier tournament, called a Sara Trophy, did not get first-class standing until a 1987/88 season. Before that Zimbabwe had three-day matches, played mostly among a same teams that became first-class clubs. Additionally, given of a geographic location, Sri Lanka would mostly get unfamiliar teams to revisit and play cricket and those were deliberate first-class matches, while when a Sri Lankan group went overseas, those matches were also deliberate first-class.

In Zimbabwe, nonetheless a Logan Cup has been played given around 1903, it usually became a first-class foe after Zimbabwe gained Test standing in 1992 (so a initial first-class Logan Cup came usually after Zimbabwe were a Test nation). Prior to this it was not a first-class competition, though it did underline multi-innings long-form cricket. While a doubt on when cricket was introduced in Zimbabwe stays a debate, many people seem to consider that a initial diversion was played in 1890 when a white colonial settlers arrived in a country. Ever given cricket has been played frequently in several centres.

It’s critical to note that while a Logan Cup itself wasn’t designated as a initial category foe until Zimbabwe were already a Test nation, a Zimbabweans had been personification first-class cricket frequently and of a high customary by a 1980s as counties such as Middlesex and Leicestershire visited a country, along with teams such as Pakistan International Airlines, Young West Indies, Young Australia and Sri Lanka in first-class games. Before 1980, Zimbabwe (or Rhodesia as it was afterwards known) took partial in South Africa’s Currie Cup, and those games were first-class matches. So when they gained autonomy a same year, they faced a outrageous question: possibly to stay in South Africa’s domestic first-class cricket foe – and risk apartheid-related siege along with them – or to go their possess approach and exit a Currie Cup. They chose a latter.

The feeling from a players who done adult Zimbabwe’s initial Test group is that, while they consider a cricket a provinces played in a republic was of a decent standard, these first-class games opposite visiting sides were critical to a growth of a inhabitant team. Some of a internationals who visited enclosed Dean Jones, Bruce Reid, Courtney Walsh, Jeff Dujon and Malcolm Marshall.


In a late 2000s, a BCB motionless to collect teams instead of seeking a groups to do it themselves, in a bid to even out a strength of a squads. It backfired – a clarity of foe within a teams reduced as players were not representing their regions, and hence cared reduction for a group and some-more for their possess performance.

In 2013, a afterwards BCB boss AHM Mustafa Kamal inducted all first-class players into a income intrigue and began a Bangladesh Cricket League, a some-more polished informal first-class competition. Created to piquancy adult a first-class scene, a BCL has supposing for a aloft peculiarity of cricket than a NCL.

Yet, there stays really small trust in players even if they put adult a good uncover in a domestic circuit. A actor possibly has to come with an age-group tab or has to infer himself in a A team, who frequency play.

Indeed, Bangladesh’s first-class stage is nonetheless to explain value to cricketers. It is in place, and there is wish that in a subsequent 5 years a BCL will take over as a many critical domestic tournament. But unless it produces one cricketer who transitions serenely into a Test team, a first-class stage will continue to be called cruise cricket.

With additional inputs from Andrew Fidel Fernando and Liam Brickhill

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