Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has tested negative for Covid-19, bringing him back into consideration for the first Test against Sri Lanka that begins on 15 May.
Shakib was supposed to join the Bangladesh Test squad on 11 May, three days after they started training in Chattogram on Monday, but upon testing positive for Covid, he had to go into self-isolation. A team official said Shakib will re-join the team where he will undergo ‘further medical and fitness tests’ before a decision will be made of his place.
Bangladesh didn’t name a replacement at the time and his return will be a welcome boost to a side mired with injuries. Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Taskin Ahmed are out due to finger and shoulder injuries, while Shoriful Islam’s participation remains subject to his clearing a fitness test ahead of the game.
Bangladesh’s batting too needs Shakib’s experience in the middle order after they slumped to 53 and 80 in successive fourth innings in South Africa. His absence would have meant having to pick two players to make up for his skills, but now the team could look forward to having their talisman back for a crucial World Test championship series.
Shakib last played a Test in December 2021 against Pakistan. He skipped the New Zealand series for personal reasons, and then had to miss the South Africa Tests due to illness in his family. Shakib has played only three out of Bangladesh’s last 11 Tests since his return from a one-year ban for failing to report a corrupt approach.