Following a lot of suspense and speculation, Bangladesh's tour of Sri Lanka was finally postponed yesterday. Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan said the Tigers will not be touring the island nation as the BCB does not agree with the quarantine protocols for the three-Test tour.
"We were informed of this yesterday [Sunday] and today we got back to them [Sri Lanka Cricket], saying it is not possible for us to send the team under such guideline and that the series should be rescheduled. We shall have this series if the [Covid-19] situation improves and when there are no such conditions. I don't think there is any chance for further discussion with SLC. If it was possible for them [to change the protocols], they would have done it by now," Hassan told the media at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
BCB was keen to send the team to Sri Lanka as it would have marked Tigers' first international cricket in seven months as cricket has been halted in the country since March due to the coronavirus outbreak. And touring the island nation seemed the most practical as Sri Lanka is one of the countries least affected by Covid-19 in the region.
In contrast, Bangladesh -- eleventh on the list of countries with the most active cases, according to worldometer.info -- is still very much in the grip of the virus. However, the government lifted the nationwide lockdown on May 31 and the sports ministry has allowed resumption of sporting activity on a limited scale.
Since the Sri Lanka series is now indefinitely postponed, focus will now shift to how BCB can get cricket back on the field in Bangladesh. According to Hassan, they will be looking to return to cricket soon and added that the board has plans for the national team as the 27-member preliminary squad was undergoing a residential camp under head coach Russell Domingo.
"We will look to start cricket soon but the fact is the coronavirus situation is still not such in our country that it would allow us to start full-fledged. We are slowly trying to start playing matches. We have the national camp ongoing and they will play three practice matches, you will soon be informed of the details.
"Following this we are planning to start domestic cricket. Domestic cricket has two parts. Initially we are thinking to have a six-team tournament involving around 90 cricketers, this can be a corporate league or something else. We have also discussed that we can have a competition between the national team, HP team and A team, involving three or four teams sponsored by BCB. We are looking to have one of these two tournaments," he said.
A total of five bilateral series has been postponed since the pandemic -- the remaining Test against Pakistan under the ICC Test Championship, home series against Australia and New Zealand, the tour of Ireland and now the Sri Lanka series. There are no international fixtures in the near future and the BCB's biggest challenge will be to get the Tigers playing international cricket again.
Although Hassan had previously stated that he is hopeful that Bangladesh will not miss out on most of their postponed international matches, the postponement has dealt a blow to those hopes.
When asked whether the board would consider hosting international series during this period, the BCB boss opted to play on the back foot.
"We first want to assess the situation [before hosting an international series], then there is also the fact that we have many domestic leagues pending. If we are able to have the domestic leagues done successfully and by then we will also observe the global situation, then we can think of hosting international teams but not at this point," said Hassan.