Life inside a ‘royal jail’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 28, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:32 AM, January 28, 2021

Life inside a ‘royal jail’

The fourth floor of the Radisson Blu hotel in Chattogram, where the Tigers are staying for the duration of the port-city leg of the series against the West Indies, may be the most entertaining and productive abode for Bangladeshi cricketers during their lives inside the bio-secure bubble.

The health safety and protocols necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic has forced cricketers to adapt to a new life inside the bubble. And it is not easy -- at times it can be mentally challenging to keep the focus intact for cricketers.

It was also a huge challenge for the Bangladesh Cricket Board to host its first international series since the pandemic reached the country in March last year. The board is desperately looking to cover all aspects when it comes to maintaining the health safety of everyone related to the series.

Yesterday was a day off for the Tigers with the Chattogram City Corporation elections taking place, and the cricketers did not even go for a training session and spent the entire day in the hotel.

At the fourth floor of the team hotel, the BCB has created a dedicated recreational room for the Tigers -- with two billiard boards, a station with Xbox games, another PlayStation corner and a table tennis board -- where players spent most of their leisure time.

In the absence of Afif Hossain, wicketkeeper-batsman Liton Das and pacer Abu Jayed are currently dominating the PlayStation battle, which takes place regularly.

Apart from that recreational room, there is another spot for cricketers where they spend a lot of time -- the room of Bangladesh ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal.

There are adda sessions during the break or even after lunch or dinner and players gather in Tamim's room for freewheeling conversations.

For others, Netflix and other online entertainment portals have been the biggest pastimes for cricketers in their respective rooms.

For lunch and other meals, in the past players would walk leave their hotel and roam around the city to visit their favourite restaurants. At times local Chattogram cricketers -- the likes of Tamim Iqbal or Yasir Ali Chowdhury -- would get boxes of food from home.

Nowadays, however, there is a dedicated restaurant for cricketers in the hotel where even the waitstaff are inside the bio-secure bubble for safety reasons.

A total of six floors at the Radisson have been reserved for both the Bangladesh and visiting West Indies side and also the match officials. Despite both teams staying at the same hotel, players of the two sides can hardly interact with each other due to their separate schedules for the swimming pool or gym.

Life inside the bio-secure bubble, according to a Bangladeshi cricketer, is a "royal jail" but despite that, they are willing to stay there as being able to play international cricket again outweighs any other disadvantage.

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