Shakib Al Hasan has tested positive for Covid, and is ruled out of the first Test against Sri Lanka that begins on 15 May. He tested positive on Tuesday in a PCR and a rapid antigen test, pre-requisites for joining the team.
Shakib was supposed to join the Bangladesh Test squad on Wednesday, two days after they started training in Chattogram on Monday. According to a BCB press release, he will now recover in self-isolation and will be re-tested in due course.
Bangladesh haven’t named a replacement immediately, but they did pick allrounder Mosaddek Hossain as cover for the injured Mehidy Hasan Miraz shortly after they had originally announced the Test squad.
Shakib’s absence in Chattogram is going to be a major blow to the home side who are already without Mehidy and Taskin Ahmed, who wasn’t picked in the squad due to a shoulder injury he picked up in South Africa last month. Shoriful Islam is in the Test squad but his participation is subject to a fitness test ahead of the game.
Bangladesh’s batting too needed Shakib’s experience in the middle order after they slumped to 53 and 80 in two fourth innings in South Africa. His absence usually means they have to pick two players to make up for his skills, but it is an even more significant blow since Bangladesh will be expected to put up better performances against Sri Lanka in a home World Test Championship series.
It is the fifth Test that Shakib will miss since playing one against Pakistan back in December last year. He skipped the New Zealand series due to personal reasons and then had to miss the South Africa Tests due to illness in his family. Shakib has now played three Tests out of Bangladesh’s 11 since his return from the one-year ban.