Resumption scenarios different for Bangladesh
Novak Djokovic on Tuesday said he was "deeply sorry". After all, he had set in motion the chaos during an ill-fated Adria Tour -- a tournament he himself organised through his foundation -- which acquainted tennis with the realities of the current pandemic.
Djokovic, along with stars Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki had all tested positive for Covid-19 during the Zadar leg of the event where people were seen flouting social distancing rules. The Zadar event dealt a severe blow to tennis's planned official return.
Usually, each and every sport exists in its own vacuum, but in a pandemic, the series of events in Croatia showed how difficult it will be to safely resume sports activities all over the world, but more so in the context of Bangladesh. Cricket, the premium sport in the country, took a hit when the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) was postponed three months ago during the second round. The infection rate in the country has since been increasing steadily and alarmingly.
The positive tests of former ODI captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam severely dented the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB's) plans to even ponder cricket's return.
While sporting activities have commenced in many countries, Bangladesh cannot yet think about resumption and although BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury had previously told The Daily Star that 'they need to look forward and find a way to resume things at some point', that reality is a distant one at the moment.
Bundesliga, the Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A and English Premier League have begun once more in an effort to complete the season while the French Ligue 1 was declared over with PSG awarded the title.
Following government directives, the leagues had started their plans for resumption. Protocols were put in place as the players geared up for the restart following a break and despite the huge toll that coronavirus inflicted on countries such as Italy and Spain, football started again.
However, the plans and the eventual restart of these leagues depended ultimately on what stage of the pandemic they were in. Germany were the first to start, allowing the players to start training because they had curbed the virus considerably by then. France, whose Covid-19 fatalities is the fifth highest in the world at the moment, have not restarted the football league.
Spain and Italy employed tough measures to curb the virus and managed to flatten the curve. Spain ended its state of emergency on Sunday and also reopened borders, and while the risk is still there, the facilities provided to footballers will ensure that they can react faster to any outbreak. The financial aspect led to the urgency in restarting the leagues and Spain, Italy and England conduct regular coronavirus tests on footballers to detect cases.
The Premier League has had 18 positive cases since restart but are carrying on with protocols in place. The Vietnamese V.League 1 had begun last month with packed crowds and the country has won praise for its aggressive coronavirus testing and a mass, centralised quarantine programme.
Meanwhile Brazil, where infections have only been escalating, saw the Rio de Janeiro state football championship postponed only a week after restart following a ruling from the country's sporting court.
Cricket on the other hand has been less aggressive with restart plans. Financial pressure as always could see the way for international cricket's return too.
Australia, which has had no new deaths since May 23, are still pondering if they can host the T20 World Cup in October this year. Cricketers in Australia however have been able to start their training programmes. Cricket Australia, which has had significant job cuts, could reportedly lose 300 million Australian dollars if they are unable to host India for the Test series in November. West Indies meanwhile would be banking on their tour of England -- the first international series set to take place amidst the pandemic -- to generate revenue.
The English and Wales Cricket Board are under financial strain and the latest seven positive tests of Pakistan players does put a dent on plans for the upcoming series.
BCB, on the other hand, has said they are financially stable even without any cricket going on. However, the main headache remains the restart of cricketing activities. The scenario in Bangladesh is similar to that of Brazil in terms of sports returning. While other countries knew about their virus peak, it is as yet uncertain for Bangladesh. The facilities the BCB can provide is not similar to ECB and more importantly, the situation in the country is different to other countries, like Sri Lanka for instance, where players have begun training as well.
"If we make any mistakes, we could infect the whole team," a BCB official told The Daily Star. "We tried to understand the Djokovic situation. It's not easy to maintain [protocols] here so we are yet to identify what we can plan. If our country was doing well on the virus front, we could get in on such plans regarding rules. We cannot just isolate cricket and think differently," he said regarding resumption of training for cricketers.
The local climate matters and, in this regard, conditions are not yet conducive for players to return to training. Cricket here will have to wait.