The Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) decision to raise the fitness bar for playing in this year's edition of the National Cricket League (NCL) has evoked mixed reactions from senior cricketers.
A player must show a minimum level of fitness to participate in this NCL.
BCB President Nazmul Hasan recently told the media that Bangladesh Head Coach Russell Domingo was not happy with the fitness of the national players.
"So we've to set a fitness bar in domestic cricket from where we get players for the senior side. It'll help us get players with better fitness," Nazmul said.
It is understood that the dissatisfaction of the head coach prompted BCB to raise the fitness test result bar to 11 from 9.
The board's stance raised concern among cricketers who are close to retiring. Mohammad Sharif, 33-year-old right-arm pacer, is one of them.
"I think the board should ensure quality practice facilities for the players of domestic cricket for at least a month ahead of the event. If we're asked to go through a beep test all of a sudden, it'll be tough for us," Sharif told the media on Saturday at the national academy ground in Mirpur.
"We'd have prepared ourselves if we were informed about the fitness test a month ago. It's really difficult for us to prepare ourselves for the fitness test in just a week or 10 days," he added.
He said if the BCB asked all divisional teams to prepare their players, they would have taken steps to do so. "Rajshahi and Khulna have their own grounds, while the players of Dhaka Metro could use the facilities of academy or Fatullah stadium," Sharif said.
Arafat Sunny, a seasoned campaigner in the domestic circuit, also expressed concern about the fitness test saying that scoring 11 will be tough for many cricketers who have been doing well in domestic cricket.
"I'm not sure if 11 is better than 9 (in fitness test). We sometimes see that a match-fit player does well than a fit (according to fitness test) player in the field. So the fitness level works differently," he said.
"A fit player does well in fielding. In the end, we're professional cricketers. We've to gain good fitness in order to play well," Sunny told reporters on Saturday.
Earlier, players like Mohammad Ashraful, Shuvagata Hom Chowdhury and Mosharraf Hossain Rubel also expressed concerns about BCB's stance on the fitness level.
NCL is scheduled to start from October 7. Most of the national cricketers will participate in this year's league.