According to Jahurul, there is not enough support from the divisional sports association and thus the players had to come together and set a system and aim of getting Rajshahi to the top of the first-class cricket
Despite being the country’s top first-class tournament, the National Cricket League enjoys very little support or encouragement from the various corners of cricketing arena.
It was proved once again as Rajshahi’s journey to their sixth NCL title was achieved only through the sheer dedication and ambition from the players, said the winning captain Jahurul Islam.
Rajshashi, with two wins and 34.81 points, finished top in Tier 1 and lifted the champion’s trophy for the first time in six years yesterday.
Rangpur finished second in Tier 1 with one win and 24.59 points.
With the feat Rajshahi equalled Khulna in the roll of honour with the 2018-19 NCL title.
Experienced Rajshahi cricketer and wicketkeeper-batsman Jahurul informed that the result was achieved thanks to the ambition set by the players almost three years ago.
According to Jahurul, there is not enough support from the divisional sports association and thus the players had to come together and set a system and aim of getting Rajshahi to the top of the first-class cricket.
“Rajshahi were once a very strong team but it was affected after Rangpur came up as a separate team. We were not being able to overcome the lackings. We needed time to recover. Around three years ago we had a meeting (among the players) of how we can get promoted to Tier 1 but had failed that season. The next season we got promoted. We have been moving with an aim. The senior players took initiatives which included having a two-month camp ahead of the season in Rajshahi,” said Jahurul to Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
Jahurul also disclosed the saga of a determined bunch of cricketers, who were eager to win, though it just proved the inadequate support from the authority for the most prestigious domestic tournament in a cricket-loving Test-playing nation.
“We implemented a salary system and had the players ranked accordingly. There is a fund that is collected among the players to hire a coach and other support staff and run day to day expenses of the camp, along with practice matches. We gathered net bowlers and interestingly a few of them have ended up playing the National League and in the national age-level such as Shoriful [Islam]. The intention was clearly to get Rajshahi the fame back of ruling the NCL and this resulted in players who performed. There was still big lacking with the facilities in Rajshahi, such as indoor facility that is broken, a proper drainage system in the field and batting nets. At the moment, we’ve come up with alternatives but that cannot be a long-term plan. We have requested the concerned authority to better our facilities, but no support has been given yet,” Jahurul explained.
Jahurul and his team are happy to have achieved the glory, but there surely are factors which do make them doubt their achievement.
The NCL, the first-class cricket tournament of the country involving seven divisional teams and one metropolitan side, is always doubted for its quality.
There are countless occasions when performances in the tournament are overlooked and not considered for the national team pipeline.
Khulna’s Tushar Imran is a big example.
Despite making plethora of runs regularly, the right-handed batsman has been kept far from being considered in the Bangladesh Test team.
Jahurul said if there is a fault it is not of the players, but the organisers.
The 31-year old from Rajshahi believes the BCB and the others concerned have a big room to raise the quality of the tournament, that will eventually affect in giving importance to the hard worked performances in the tournament.
“There is always a question with the performers, of what they are actually getting back in return for their performance. Money is not a factor but factor is if the performance is getting proper value. Tushar is a big example. Now if someone says the NCL does not have quality as a tournament then the blame does not go to the players but it goes to those who are behind the running and arranging of this tournament,” Jahurul explained.
“The board has a big room to invest and better the quality of the tournament. I remember of playing the final match in Mirpur with a channel broadcasting the match Live. There is no question with the quality of the BPL. A performer there easily gets recognised and makes it to the national team. It is just that the BPL is highlighted and promoted well. It is more of the board’s responsibility to lift the NCL as a tournament. The effort the players make is from sheer self-motivation. The board’s job is to lift those performers in the NCL to a next level,” he added.