Dhaka: Bangladesh plans to crack down on players who use "pretexts" to avoid playing domestic First-Class cricket in an effort to boost its woeful Test squad, an official said Sunday.
Bangladesh have won just 10 out of 108 games since getting Test status in 2000, losing six of their last seven, including a thrashing by the West Indies this month.
They failed to score 200 runs in any of their last six innings and were bowled out for 43, their lowest-ever total, in the Caribbean in the first Test.
According to Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) officials, a major reason for the crisis is players' lack of interest in playing Test and First-Class cricket.
"We have got a long-standing policy that the players will not be considered for the national team unless they play domestic First-Class cricket. But whenever it comes to playing National Cricket League or other First-Class matches, our players show family reason or other pretexts to avoid it," said BCB spokesman Jalal Yunus.
"So far we have shown a soft attitude towards it. But now we will follow the policy strictly. Because we have noticed that a few players are not even interested in playing Test cricket."
Jalal's comments came two days after BCB president Nazmul Hassan revealed that star players Shakib Al Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain were reluctant to play Test cricket.
"He (Shakib) does not want to play Test cricket. Mustafiz (Mustafizur Rahman) also does not want to play Test cricket," Hassan told reporters on Friday.
Hassan said some players "don't want to play Test cricket because it is very hard to play".
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The government sources said this in the backdrop of IMF's growth projections showing Bangladesh closing in on India in terms of per capita GDP this year.
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