Bangladesh’s forthcoming Test series in Sri Lanka is under doubt after their board’s chief rejected the coronavirus restrictions imposed by the hosts. Bangladesh are scheduled to visit Sri Lanka for a three-match Test series in October-November. If the series goes ahead, it would mark the return to international cricket for both the nations after a long lay-off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, things are not looking promising at present. On Monday, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan said Sri Lanka’s conditions, which include 14 days of isolation for players after arrival — during which practising would be forbidden — were unacceptable. His comments came a week after opening batsman Saif Hasan tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of a planned training camp before their scheduled departure for Sri Lanka.
“The proposal we received is… not even close to what we agreed upon,” Hassan told reporters in Dhaka.
“Under these conditions, it is not possible for us to play the Test championship… This is not even close to what is being followed in some other parts of the world where cricket is being played during this time,” he added.
In an attempt to keep the coronavirus situation under control, Sri Lanka had made it mandatory for people entering the country to follow a compulsory 14-day quarantine at a government-nominated facility, which includes some hotels.
Hassan said players had been unable to train together after all sporting activities in Bangladesh were suspended in March in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Bangladesh finally resumed their training in July but even that was not full-fledged as only one player and a trainer are allowed inside Dhaka’s main stadium at a time as a precaution.
“Our players have not been in training for seven months. If we can’t train… then it’s not possible to play a Test,” he said.
Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa told his country’s cricket board to work with the health department to try and find a way around the strict quarantine procedures.
“Given the significance of #cricket in the region, I have asked @OfficialSLC to consult the covid task force and reconsider the @BCBtigers matter,” Rajapaksa tweeted.
Sri Lanka Cricket are yet to comment on the matter. Bangladesh would be really desperate to put up a good show in Sri Lanka if the series is played as they are languishing at the bottom in the ICC Test Championship points table. They are the only team who are yet to earn a point. In such a scenario, they might decide against traveling to Sri Lanka if the quarantine rules are not relaxed.