BCB Still Hopeful of SL Tour Despite Lockdown
A nationwide week-long lockdown will be imposed in Bangladesh from Monday following a rise in Coronavirus cases, but the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is not ready to press the panic button regarding the forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka yet.
BCB Chief Executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury told Cricbuzz on Saturday (3 April) that they are keeping their fingers crossed for the tour that comprises of two Tests, and a decision in this regard will be taken after assessing the situation in the coming days along with consulting with respective government authorities.
“All the arrangements (for the tour) are in place, but at the moment we are focusing on observing the condition of the country,” said Nizamuddin. “I cannot say it is doubtful at the moment considering the Government just announced the lockdown.
“We will understand where we stand within a few days and a decision in this regard will be taken after consulting with respective authorities (Government) as well as discussing with our Sri Lankan counterpart as well,” he said.
The series originally was scheduled to be played during October - November last year, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bangladesh are scheduled to play both Test matches at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy. As part of the preparation, a two-day intra-squad warm-up game is scheduled on 17-18 April at CMC, Katunayake, before they take on the hosts in the first Test on 21-25 April, while the second Test is slated from 29 April to 3 May at the same venue.
Bangladesh will be without their ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman during the tour, as both of them will take part in the Indian Premier League.
Shakib was granted NOC as he decided to skip the series in order to play in IPL, while Mustafizur was given the NOC as he is not in the Test squad for the Sri Lanka tour.
Bangladesh team members will arrive from New Zealand on Sunday and members of the Test squad are expected to spend time with their family before getting into the bubble ahead of the tour.
The BCB had already postponed its first-class competition, the National Cricket League, in light of the surge in COVID-19 cases before the Government announced the lockdown on Saturday.