Bangladesh players must play NCL if they want to play India Tests, says chief selector Habibul Bashar

The Test defeat against Afghanistan has rung the bells in the Tigers' camp.

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Bangladesh team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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Bangladesh are due to visit India for a T20I and Test series next month and the country’s national selector Habibul Bashar has categorically said that to be eligible for selection for the Test squad, the cricketers will have to play in the first two rounds of the domestic National Cricket League (NCL). The NCL season of this year started off on October 1 and will continue till November 8.

The Bangladesh cricket authorities, however, have set exceptions for players like Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das – who are playing in the Caribbean Premier League – and those playing for the ‘A’ team. Bangladesh recently lost to Afghanistan in a Test match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram and came under strong criticism.

Also as part of the upcoming tour of India when the Tigers will play two Tests after three T20Is, former New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori’s consultation will be sought. The former Kiwi captain is Bangladesh’s new bowling consultant and will join the camp on October 25. The Test matches will be played in Indore (Nov 14-18) and Kolkata (Nov 22-26), respectively. Before that, the T20I matches will be played in Delhi, Rajkot and Nagpur.

“Without any valid reason, no one will be allowed to skip NCL. Suppose, someone has hamstring injury or broke a finger, then it is something for consideration but without these reasons we will not entertain other explanation as everyone will have to play the NCL,” Bashar was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

The decision will see senior players like Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah appearing in the first-class tournament after four years. While Tamim didn’t play in the match against Afghanistan, both Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah failed to deliver.

Afghanistan loss has hurt Bangladesh cricket

That the 224-run loss against Afghanistan has really hurt Bangladesh cricket was understood from Bashar’s words. “[The national cricketers] need to make the best use of NCL as it will provide them with an opportunity to spend some time in the middle and they must make that into a habit, as we have seen some of our leading batsmen were unable to do it against Afghanistan,” Bashar said.

Meanwhile, Akram Khan, chairman of Bangladesh Cricket Board’s cricket operations, said Vettori will be available for 11 days as the bowling consultant. “We will start our preparation camp for the upcoming India series from October 25 and [Vettori] will be available from the start of the camp as he is coming before that,” Akram told Cricbuzz.

Former South Africa batsman Neil McKenzie, who is Bangladesh’s white-ball batting consultant, will be guiding the side during the opening Test against India, Akram said, adding that they are trying to get McKenzie for both white and red-ball versions.

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