|| CF Correspondent ||
Rajshahi Division marked their top tier appearance in a regal attitude as they clinched a record-equaling sixth title in the National Cricket League on Thursday (November 8). They registered two victories and four draws this season on path to glory.
Rajshahi acquired their fifth title in 2011-12, the same season when Rangpur Division was formed and started the process of splitting up the same team into two. Rajshahi then experienced a downfall and were included in the Tier 2 when NCL became a two-tier competition in 2015-16.
Jahurul Islam started leading the side in the very next season and Rajshahi finally got promoted to Tier 1 this year by securing a top-place in Tier 2 last season. And they certainly did not make any mistake in proving their supremacy in the tournament once again.
“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 lacking. 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, who has made 24 international appearances for Bangladesh.
Rajshahi Division have been home to national cricketers like Khaled Mashud, Sabbir Rahman, Junaid Siddique, and Taijul Islam while also nurturing budding cricketers like Shoriful Islam and Mohor Sheikh.
They did not hesitate to hand Mohor Sheikh a debut in the decisive sixth and final round this season and the youngster also justified the decision by taking eight wickets in the match including a fifer in the first innings.
However, Jahurul lamented the lack of facilities at their home base despite being the most successful team in the tournament alongside Khulna Division. He urged for a long-term plan for the team that has been providing the national team pipeline for ages.
“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. 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 give us better facilities, but no support has been given yet,” Jahurul said.
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