BCB risks falling behind in the new normal | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 08, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 08, 2020

BCB risks falling behind in the new normal

The news that 11 footballers, a majority of whom were asymptomatic, tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the national team's camp could serve as a big lesson to the Bangladesh Cricket Board, who are thinking of the resumption of cricket in the coming days.

Interestingly, results from testing done by the footballers at various hospitals before joining the camp differed to what the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) found after testing the players again.

Despite showing no symptoms, 11 of 24 footballers tested positive for the virus and the results of the tests were inaccurate, which is very much a reflection of the scenario in the country.

From cricket's point of view, the BCB is still playing the waiting game when it comes to resuming group training, but perhaps the board should at least take the initiative to test cricketers who have begun individual training sessions.

National cricketers, including the likes of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad, started training last month after the BCB provided access to their facilities across the country. With the Eid break ending yesterday, more cricketers were expected to join individual sessions.

A total of 28 cricketers will resume from today training across different venues, according to the BCB's training schedule. But questions remain about whether the board will take the initiative to test these cricketers with the situation of the footballers in mind.

According to BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the board is still discouraging cricketers from individual training sessions. He said that not having any series in the near future led the board to decide not to take any initiatives to resume group training yet.

"The board has been discouraging cricketers from individual training from the beginning. What the footballers faced is obviously a big challenge for us as well, which is why we are yet to resume group training. This is alarming and, keeping the situation in mind, I don't see any reason to hurry," Nizamuddin told The Daily Star.

"However, as cricketers desired individual training, we provided them with facilities. But we also ensured social distancing and other safety measures and we instructed groundsmen and staff to have tests done. After the postponement of the Asia Cup and the ICC World T20, there are no scheduled series for us, which is why we didn't resume group training. We will start testing players once we begin group training."

It is a matter of fact that what the BCB is yet to contend with the challenges that the BFF is currently facing but, with the resumption of cricket in mind, the BCB should take some initiatives if they want to prepare cricketers and, more importantly, face reality.

During their efforts to return to cricket, the Pakistan Cricket Board faced such a challenge as many cricketers returned positive tests ahead of their tour of England. That case was similar to what the BFF is facing, but the PCB managed to face the challenge and move forward.

Football leagues around the world also faced difficulties in adapting to the new normal. A total of 20 positive cases have emerged in England's Premier League since football restarted.

BCB officials expressed high hopes over the Tigers' upcoming tour of Sri Lanka from September but is the BCB preparing themselves and their players for that?

England created a bio-secure environment during their home series against the West Indies but despite that, visiting coach Phil Simmons made a mistake and attended a funeral ahead of the series which nearly cost him his job. He then had to isolate himself. England pacer Jofra Archer was fined and was even forced out of the second Test against the West Indies after the cricketer breached bio-security protocols.

It will be important for the BCB to prepare such an environment and help players and also the coaching staff to adapt to it, something the likes of Archer and Simmons struggled to do despite preparing heavily for the new normal.


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