Bangladesh opener Saif Hassan has tested positive again for Covid-19. He was found positive for Covid-19 seven days ago.
Sources close to the selection committee of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) said, Saif is out of the 27-member preliminary squad of Bangladesh team which might tour Sri Lanka later this year. However, the squad is yet to be announced officially.
Saif, however, will be tested again after a week, and if he returns negative in the next test, he has a good chance to make the squad.
The left-handed opener made his debut earlier this year with a duck against Pakistan in Rawalpindi. He represented Bangladesh in two Tests till the date. The 21-year-old batsman is yet to prove his mettle in the international circuit.
He had a good chance to make his debut in Kolkata Test against India in last October, which is marked as Bangladesh’s first day-night Test, but a finger injury had ruled him out.
Saif played 41 First-class matches and accumulated 2362 runs at an average of 42.17 with four centuries and 12 half-centuries. He also played 67 List-a games and scored 2491 runs with six centuries and 14 half-centuries.
Bangladesh left-arm orthodox spinner Taijul Islam has used the hiatus forced by the Covid-19 pandemic to bring some changes in his bowling action. He says the new action has added an edge to his bowling, and he is more confident about bowling long spells now without any niggling worries.
Like the other cricketers, Taijul was also stuck at home for months. During that period, he was unable to practise his bowling using the world class facilities maintained by BCB in some selected spots, as they were off limits during the pandemic. Currently he is availing the individual and small group practice programme.
“I have made a small change in bowling action. The new bowling action matches my body perfectly. Now, I can bowl for a longer period without any problem,” Taijul told the media after his practice on Tuesday.
“I have been bowling for a few days which is helping me to grow my confidence. I believe, within the next few weeks, it will increase more. It was tough to bowl and do well in every format of the game with the previous action. The new action is giving the opportunity to try more variation. Our spin-bowling coach (Daniel) Vettori assuredly said the new action will help me become a better bowler in future,” Taijul added.
The 28-year-old spinner also said that he is already getting variation from his new action which is offering challenging times to the batsmen in the nets.
Taijul represented Bangladesh in 29 Tests, 9 ODIs and 2 T20Is. He has bagged 114 wickets in Tests but only a handful in the shorter versions. In Tests, especially at home on dusty pitches, Taijul is always a potential matchwinner. And he has actually delivered on quite a few occasions in the last 3 years or so.
The record indicates Taijul's old action itself was quite successful; like a gunslinger with a low centre of gravity, the amount of turn he would get was dictated by his hip rotation through the crease. But the low point of release limited his options to flight the ball. He also had no arm ball, usually considered vital to a left-arm orthodox spinner's repertoire, if he is to put a batsman in two minds.
Bangladesh national team members are currently gearing up for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka for a three-match Test series. However, the series is still not confirmed due to the strict regulation of the Sri Lanka government to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.
As per the regulation of the government of the island nation, everyone who enters Sri Lanka has required 14-day quarantine. But Bangladesh asked for a shorter period for the national team. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has said that they are not going to travel to Sri Lanka if a shorter quarantine period is not assured. On the other hand, Sri Lanka said they are still discussing the matter with the health department.
The Sri Lankan Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa asked Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to reconsider the Covid-19 directives for Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on cricketers quarantine terms as BCB President Nazmul Hasan virtually regrets to tour the Island nation with such tough terms and conditions
“As we all know the Covid-19 pandemic is still at large globally, prevention measures are a high priority. However, given the significance of cricket in the region, I have asked SLC to consult the Covid-19 task force and reconsider the BCB’s matter,” Namal Rajapaksa tweeted on Monday.
Earlier in a media briefing at Mirpur Stadium on Monday, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hasan said the series against Sri Lanka for three Tests is not possible if the hosts do not allow Bangladesh a shorter quarantine period and other facilities that have been sought earlier.
As per the Sri Lankan government’s regulation, everyone who enters the island nation is required a 14-day strict quarantine, but BCB agreed only for a seven-day quarantine. During quarantine, every member of the Bangladesh team and coaching staff will need to undergo Covid-19 Test thrice, and they only get permission to use practice facilities if they test negative.
“The terms and conditions of Sri Lanka sent to us are not possible to follow. So we think this series is not possible considering the current circumstances. We’re set to tell them our stance,” Nazmul told the media after a meeting at the BCB headquarters in Mirpur.
Bangladesh squad is scheduled to travel to Sri Lanka on September 27. As the team out of match practice for over six months, they are supposed to spend almost a month in preparation. The first Test is supposed to kick off in the later part of October.
A total of 65 people, including the Tigers, the BCB High Performance team and the support staff, are supposed to travel to Sri Lanka.
On the condition of testing negative for coronavirus, players would be allowed to train from the third day of arrival, according to BCB’s discussions with SLC earlier.
“What we’ve thought earlier is very different from the current scenario. And we think their arrangements are different from other countries who have already started playing international cricket,” the BCB boss said.
"But now their terms and conditions are nowhere near those discussions, and neither are they anything close to what other countries hosting cricket in the pandemic are doing.”
“This is not a boys’ game, this is part of ICC World Test Championship. So we are unable to understand what they really want to say,” Nazmul said.
BCB has a plan to send High-performance Unit (HP) to Sri Lanka with the national team so that they can play practice game among them. Sri Lanka Cricket agreed to this. But the health department of the island nation cleared that they will not allow so many members with Bangladesh team.
Nazmul said: “We thought that Sri Lanka is safer than Bangladesh in terms of Covid-19 situation. So we planned to send our national team days earlier so that they can have a longer practice camp. But the current situation is so different. We don’t know the main reason behind this.
“They may have a dangerous Covid-19 situation but we don’t know. But they are hosting domestic cricket. So the real reason seems to be something else. We wanted to host our initial camp in Dambulla which is an isolated area.
“Despite that, they did not agree to a shorter quarantine period. I think this is a surprising move by Sri Lanka.”
This series was originally scheduled for July-August, but due to the outbreak of the virus, it was later rescheduled for October-November. It is part of the ongoing World Test Championship.
Also read: Sri Lanka tour not possible now: BCB chief
After the long hiatus forced by the Covid-19 pandemic, recently it was announced that the Bangladesh national team would return to the international stage with a 3-Test series against Sri Lanka, for which preparations are underway already.
Today it was the turn of domestic cricket within Bangladesh to receive its strongest indicator yet of a coming resumption. Although no date was announced, cricket supremo Nazmul Hasan Papon, said this to the media himself Monday.
The last competitive cricket match held in Bangladesh was back in March. All the cricketing activities were on hold completely or on a limited scale since. Professional cricketers were stuck at home for months until they started an individual training programme ahead of Eid-ul-Adha which is still going forward.
Many cricketers along with the Cricket Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB) have previously urged BCB to provide the facilities so that domestic cricket can make a comeback. But considering the Covid-19 situation of the country, BCB adopted a slow-moving policy.
“We are working on bringing the game of cricket back in the field. We are not sure if we can invite an international team to Bangladesh, but we definitely will start domestic cricket soon. We’ll reveal the plan in details soon,” Nazmul said on Monday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
BCB revealed the decision right after the Sri Lanka-Bangladesh series went into jeopardy. Bangladesh team were due to fly for Sri Lanka later this month. But the Sri Lanka Cricket said they are unable to provide the facilities BCB sought earlier.
BCB came to a decision that they’ll tour Sri Lanka if and only if they are allowed it would seem to dictate the itinerary, and even the level of precautions that they would be willing to face in the context of the pandemic.
As per the Sri Lanka government’s regulation, everyone who enters the island nation is needed to maintain a strict quarantine period of 14-days. The same length as many other countries. But the BCB asked to trim this period to seven days - an extraordinary request. Yet even the whole tour is now being said to be imperilled by this brattish stance from BCB.
Also read: Sri Lanka tour not possible now: BCB chief
Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) has donated Tk 1,30,000 (one lac thirty thousand) in two instalments for the treatment of Rakibul Islam, the Under-15 national team’s injured captain.
Rakibul, who captained the squad that finished 3rd at the SAFF Under-15 Championship 2019 in India, was seriously injured during a practice session at the Fortis Football Academy in the capital last December.
As a young up-and-coming footballer already part of the national setup, and having suffered the injury while playing football, some may have expected BFF to come forward and cover his costs as a straightforward thing. But they had to be persuaded.
Following an appeal by him and his family, the BFF donated Tk 30,000 (thirty thousand) earlier in the first installment and handed over another amount of Tk 1,00,000 (one lac) today (Monday) in the 2nd installment as financial assistance.
Rakibul, a young talent from Satkhira district expressed his gratitude while coach of Bangladesh U-15 team Mostafa Anwar Parvez congratulated BFF for the financial support.