Defending champions Khulna will face the newly-promoted Sylhet in the National Cricket League from March 22, as domestic cricket returns in Bangladesh after three months. The last domestic tournament held was the Bangabandhu T20s, which finished on December 18. Since then, the 2020-21 domestic season has been paused for vaccination to begin across the country.
Many of the participating players have already been vaccinated before the competition, although the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in Bangladesh may have an affect later in the NCL’s scheduling.
The NCL is one of two first-class competitions that will be played in six cities this time, but at least for the first two rounds, none of the matches will be played in Dhaka where Covid cases are the highest.
Khulna, Sylhet, Dhaka and Rangpur are in Tier-1 of the competition while Rajshahi, Dhaka Metropolis, Chattogram and Barisal are in Tier-2. Last season, Rajshahi were demoted to Tier-2.
Bangladesh are currently touring New Zealand, and will return after the third T20I on April 1. Upon their return, they will have less than two weeks to fit in time with their family before they go to Sri Lanka to play two World Test Championship matches. It might leave them with possibly one first-class match although that too depends entirely on their bio-bubble management.
Following the NCL, the BCB has already announced that the 2019-20 Dhaka Premier League will be completed as a T20 tournament during this season, starting on May 6.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.