Neglected local cricketers blazing their own path | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 03, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:02 PM, March 03, 2021

Neglected local cricketers blazing their own path

For many, life returned to the way it was in the pre-pandemic era over the past few months as they returned to their usual lives in their relative fields. But although the national cricketers resumed their duties and are currently in New Zealand, things have not returned to normal for a majority of local cricketers, whose livelihood relies mainly on domestic cricket.

It has been almost a year that local cricketers have been waiting for the Dhaka Premier League to resume after it was halted in mid-March last year after the first round due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

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The Bangladesh Cricket Board did arrange smaller scale tournaments with the players' safety in mind last year, organising the BCB President's Cup, a 50-over domestic tournament, and following that up by holding the Bangabanadhu T20 Cup.

However, frustration among a majority of local players who are still waiting their turn to return to the field has been exasperated. With no solution in sight, cricketers began to unite and arrange local cricket tournaments in various parts of the country.

Apart from domestic cricketers, national stars like Test skipper Mominul Haque and others cricketers were seen playing for hireacross the country. Locally-arranged leagues were staged in Mymensingh, Magura, Rajshahi and the latest in Sylhet as cricketers seized the initiative.

"Honestly, the situation was not good for us as we mainly rely on the Dhaka league for our livelihood. We went to Nadel Bhai (BCB director Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel) for help and he extended his full support towards us to arrange a tournament. We first started the academy cup to engage young cricketers and then arranged a five-team franchise tournament," national left-arm spinner Enamul Haque Jr told The Daily Star.

According to the Sylhet native, they went to local businessmen and groups seeking sponsorship and urged them to buy franchises so that they could get enough financial support to arrange the entire tournament.

"I think coronavirus came as a blessing in disguise as organisers will now be on their toes with regards to arranging local leagues, which have remained irregular over the years," Enamul added.

According to national cricketer Ariful Haque, the pandemic has taught all cricketers a big lesson.

"It was very tough and it's not over for us yet. We mainly rely on the Dhaka league and other domestic leagues across the year and are looking forward to returning to our workplace soon," Ariful said.

BCB boss Nazmul Hassan previously announced that the board would resume domestic cricket once they ensured vaccinations for all the local cricketers.

There were also talks about whether the BCB would resume the domestic league with the National Cricket League -- the first-class four-day competition. However, according to many cricketers, they are willing to resume cricket with the Dhaka Premier League which got halted after the first round.

"At the moment, we can't say exactly which league we are going to start first as we are working on the calendar and we will sit regarding the issue today (Tuesday). We have already done the homework from the management level and are now awaiting directions from the board level," BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury said.

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