BCB president Nazmul Hassan is hopeful that Bangladesh will not miss out on most of their postponed international matches during the Covid-19 pandemic, except the two-match Test series against Australia at home, which was supposed to be held in June. Since the Bangladesh government announced a general holiday in March due to the outbreak, the BCB postponed the Dhaka Premier League while their tours to Pakistan and Ireland were also called off.
The home Test series against New Zealand were also postponed, but a tour of Sri Lanka, which had fallen through earlier, has now been rescheduled and will take place in October.
Hassan added that all the other bilateral series will be back on the calendar in due course. “We have missed a lot of cricket, like the home series against Australia and New Zealand. We have one Test remaining against Pakistan, as well as the Ireland series. Apart from the Australia series, we are going to reschedule all these matches. We cannot match the timing with them.”
Hassan drew a bleaker picture for domestic cricket in Bangladesh. The 2019-20 Dhaka Premier League which was postponed after one round of matches in March, is unlikely to take place until the pandemic situation improves in the country.
“The league can only start under either two conditions,” Hassan said. “Firstly, if the Covid situation in Bangladesh improves, or if the vaccine arrives. Otherwise, I don’t see any logic in starting the league. I don’t see any point taking a risk by trying to be brave.
“My only message to (domestic cricketers) would be to look at the rest of the world where millions have lost their job and have no income. Let us pray to Allah to help us recover from this pandemic. Of course, the BCB will try to help them.”
Hassan said that the situation in Bangladesh is so dire that he is proposing early departure to Sri Lanka. Initially the plan was for the players to leave for Colombo on September 23 or 24, go through the two-week quarantine and then train for the series that begins on October 24.
“I have proposed that we should shift most of the training to Sri Lanka which we can assume is a safer place,” Hassan said. “Making the training camp short here, we should go there early and hold a longer camp in Sri Lanka.
“The only reason we are sending the team to Sri Lanka is because it is one of the safe countries. Sri Lanka hasn’t found any new cases in the last few months.”
Hassan said that holding a training camp in Dhaka would mean that the BCB has to rent isolated apartment blocks or take over entire floors of a 5-star hotel. “We will instruct the players to get tested from labs from their hometowns and then as soon as they arrive at the camp, they will be tested. Then 20 days later they will be tested again.
“I have suggested that if we keep them in a 5-star hotel, couple of floors have to be completely locked down. Even the cleaners have to be in isolation. So we have to speak to hotels or even find apartments. We are still in the process of finalizing, but we are trying to ensure as much security as possible against coronavirus,” he said.