BCB’s Bangladesh Tigers programme set to begin on February 25



BCB’s chief executive says this programme is separate to the Bangladesh A team set-up

The BCB’s Bangladesh Tigers programme, designed to train the country’s top cricketers throughout the year, will begin on February 25 at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogura. The initial intake is 23 players, including some Test specialists who are gearing up for the tour of South Africa next month.

Usually many of these cricketers would have to rely on their domestic teams staying in the tournament to keep themselves in training. The situation is perhaps dire with discarded international cricketers, as they can’t find a ground with proper facilities to train when they are outside the system.

It prompted BCB director Kazi Inam Ahmed, now made chairman of the Bangladesh Tigers, to come up with such a programme last year. It took a bit of time to get it going, but last week, the BCB announced the squad, coaches and the schedule for the first batch.

The squad’s coaching group is mostly Bangladeshi, including head coach Mizanur Rahman Babul. Champaka Ramanayake, who is a BCB-appointed coach, is working as the bowling coach while Umakant Patel has been appointed as the fielding coach.

“The selectors have been given three criteria,” Inam said. “When a series is taking place, those players who are not part of that format can come into this programme. Most of our Test players will be available during this Afghanistan series, so they can prepare in this programme. At the same time, a player who recently got dropped from the senior team, due to form or fitness, can come into this programme. We can keep players who did well in the DPL, NCL, BCL and BPL, on their way to the senior team.”

Inam said that since the Bangladesh team will play ODIs and T20Is against Afghanistan from February 23 to March 5, the rest of the players in the Test side along with recent performers picked in the Tigers side will be training separately. Bogura was picked as the venue given its reputation of having quick pitches.

“Our main focus this time is the South Africa tour,” he said. “Sujon bhai and Babul bhai have designed it that way since we are figuring out what type of bowling we will face there. We kept extra pacers and other bowlers.”

Inam also said that the programme will return after the Dhaka Premier League, giving performers from that tournament and other national cricketers an opportunity to train at a separate camp.

“We will restart the Bangladesh Tigers programme in May after the DPL,” Inam said. “Many of our coaches will keep the players under observation. We will announce another squad after the DPL.”

BCB’s chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said that the Tigers’ programme is separate to the Bangladesh A team set-up. “The two are different,” he said. “This is a programme, and that’s a team. It is true that there are fewer A team matches but we are working on the main tours of the FTP. We might need a couple of months, but we will have a plan for the next two or three years.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84


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