The latest three-day in-room quarantine forced upon the Bangladesh squad in New Zealand has put the visitors’ preparation in trouble, ahead of the first Test that begins on New Year’s Day in Mount Maunganui.
Unfortunately, this is the second time that the Bangladesh touring party is in quarantine after their spin-bowling coach Rangana Herath had tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. Eight Bangladesh players, identified as close contacts with another Covid-positive case in their New Zealand-bound flight, are also in isolation.
The visitors have their fourth RT-PCR test scheduled on Sunday. If everyone tests negative, the tour will go ahead as scheduled, but more Covid-positive cases could make things from bad to worse. Worst case scenario being the tour might be called off.
After a meeting on Saturday, board president Nazmul Hassan said that they aren’t thinking of postponing the tour yet, but are looking to discuss what their next action should be if the current in-room quarantine gets extended.
“The Bangladesh cricketers are mentally very tired,” Hassan said. “Many of the players were thinking if the tour can be postponed so that they can return home. There’s no chance of that happening. We will discuss the situation with the New Zealand board if the quarantine is extended beyond December 21.
“We have already informed them that it will be difficult for our team if adequate preparation facilities is not provided. If the series is delayed by three or four days, we won’t have any alternative.”
The knock-on effect of a potentially delayed New Zealand tour means the BPL, which will start in mid-January, could also be postponed. Hassan said that they are looking at various options to stage the domestic T20 tournament despite a packed calendar. Bangladesh are also scheduled to host Afghanistan for three ODIs and two T20Is shortly after the BPL, in February.
“The BPL may not happen as planned,” Hasan said. “We may have to cut down on the schedule. We might even start the BPL without the players who are in New Zealand. They will join two to four days after the tour, but get full payment.
“We will have six travel days due to the three venues. If we reduce one venue, we can save couple of days. If we reduce it to five teams, we might get four or five days extra. We will decide all this on December 21.”
Avishkar Govardhane is a Sports Editor and enthusiast, working here at Clout News covering the latest Cricket News.