Covid protocols for athletes worldwide is different: BCB CEO
With Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman having already returned to the country from India following the suspension of IPL, the interest among fans remain regarding their period of quarantine.
After landing in the country via a BCCI-arranged chartered flight on Thursday, both Shakib and Mustafizur have been quarantined at different hotels in the capital. Shakib has already returned a negative test in his first Covid test while Mustafizur still awaits the result of his first test.
According to the government-mandated Covid protocol, all the inbound passengers would need to go through a mandatory 14-day quarantine period. However, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury mentioned that the general protocol is not supposed to be applicable for athletes.
"We [BCB] are a bit confused about this," said Nizamuddin when asked if there is a possibility to minimize the quarantine period for Shakib and Mustafizur.
Nizamuddin further explained why the case of Shakib and Mistafizur is not one of an exemption for "a privileged person". Nizamuddin mentioned as sportspersons already stay and follow strict health guidelines during tours, the worldwide Covid protocol for athletes is different from the one followed by general people.
"Whenever this topic of exemption comes, sometimes it is being misinterpreted. In that case, what we want to say is that it is not for a privileged person. In International cricket, a different protocol is followed. The Covid protocols followed by our country or any other country is a general protocol for general people. This means it [the Covid protocol] is for people who come to the country by passenger flight after receiving a Covid negative certificate. And then they undergo the government-mandated 14-day quarantine. And they don't even take any other further Covid tests after that.
"However, the participants of different sports events return to their countries after already maintaining a certain protocol. After undergoing a [Covid] test [prior to boarding their flight back home] they need to undergo a certain number of further [Covid] tests [after returning to the country] within a given timeframe. And only after returning negative results in all these tests, the players are allowed to participate in any event. So, this protocol [for athletes] is not only for Bangladesh but it's a protocol followed worldwide," said Nizamuddin.
Even though Shakib and Mustafizur are quarantined at different city hotels, the quarantine period for the two cricketers has possibly not been decided yet. Nizamuddin said that the BCB is currently working on the matter.
"As you know, New Zealand is one of the most Covid compliance countries in the world, where they do not even allow a visitor. And the Bangladesh team went there, stayed for a number of days and played a series. So, the protocol for [sports] events is not supposed to be the same as the one for general people. We are having some complications [deciding on the matter of quarantine period of Shakib and Mustafizur] and we are hoping to minimize [these complications] as soon as possible," said Nizamuddin.
Both Shakib and Mustafizur have been included in the 23-member preliminary squad for Bangladesh's forthcoming three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka later this month. And even if Shakib and Mustafizur have to stay in quarantine for 14 days, they will be freed on May 20, given they return negative in all required Covid tests. And hence, the Bangladesh team management is looking forward to getting back their two key players in time ahead of the crucial ODI series, which starts on May 23.
Meanwhile, the players of the preliminary squad, who were not part of the Tigers' recent Sri Lanka tour, have already started training at the home of cricket in Mirpur.
The BCB CEO also informed that the rest of the players, who were part of the last Sri Lanka tour and are also part of the upcoming ODI series, will be joining the squad practice soon after already having returned negative in their Covid test.