But I just feel that these leagues aren't the appropriate field to develop skill, temperament and character and for teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe these leagues can only be a source of earning cash and nothing else. For teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, it's the longer-version cricket which is strictly recommended for improvement and for which players from Zimbabwe and Bangladesh must target playing in county cricket more and more.
County cricket provides an amazing opportunity for any cricketer to polish their skill and talent and make themselves fit for the topsy-turvy world of international cricket. Testing conditions and variable wickets test a cricketer's character in each and every game. County cricket makes a good cricketer better and a better cricketer into world's best. But in the course of time, modern day cricketers are no more interested in playing county cricket.
But this shouldn't be. From a Bangladeshi perspective, a productive season with a first division county team can be extremely helpful. The way our first-class cricket leagues remain jet-logged, it can only ensure the development of lethargy amongst our boys. In that sense, playing in the longer-version formats of the county championships will keep the cricketers engaged in quality cricket and will benefit them enormously.
Moreover, county teams will not be disappointed if they give an opportunity to Shakib, Tamim or Nasir Hossain on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, Shakib performed extremely well in county cricket three years back. In 2009, he was signed by Worcestershire to play for them for the 2010 season. The year 2009 had been the darkest year for them. They did not manage to win a single match and were thus dropped to Division 2. They needed someone charismatic to change their fortune. Men like Imran Khan, Ian Botham and Kapil Dev played for Worcestershire with distinction and ensured Worcestershire's hay days. Like Imran and Botham, Shakib too dazzled.
He started his county journey with a classy 90 against Derbyshire. In the 40-over matches he began with a blazing 72 against the Unicorns. In eight first-class matches Shakib scored 398 runs and in limited-overs cricket he made 187 in just five matches.
With the ball, Shakib was destructive. His teasing left-arm orthodox spin outfoxed the opponent batsmen. He started with 3 for 94 against Derbyshire and in against Gloucestershire he grabbed wickets including a five-wicket haul. His match figures of 8 for102 were the best bowling for Worcestershire for the season. In the match against Middlesex Shakib finished with 7 for 23 which was the best individual bowling figure for Worcestershire that season. Again, in the limited-over format his bowling figures of 4 for 32 against Glamorgan was the best for Worcestershire that season.
In eight first-class matches Shakib took 35 wickets and in the limited over format he took nine from five. Among the top five bowling figures for Worcestershire in this season Shakib's bowling figures ranks respectively as first, fourth and fifth. In the limited over format his nine wickets at an average of 17.77 is the second best for Worcestershire. The bowler who topped for Worcestershire, Jack Sentry, has played twelve matches whereas Shakib just played five matches.
In the last match against Surrey, Worcestershire won by six wickets though Shakib was not impressive. But the drawn match between Glamorgan and Derbyshire ensured Worcestershire made it to Division 1.
That terrific season with Worcestershire helped Shakib become a consistent performer for Bangladesh but sadly since then he has been summoned by county teams only to play T20 matches. Alongside Shakib, Tamim too has been summoned to play only T20 matches but in a sense, Bangladesh does have the players to ensure solid performance in county cricket. Players like Nasir, Mushfiqur Rahim and Anamul Haque can prove a point in county cricket if they are given opportunities.
First Published: July 20, 2013, 10:50 AM IST