In the opening game Mahmudullah XI took on Najmul XI and before the match, number of BCB directors, high-ups and president Nazmul Hasan took to the balcony of the president box for the opening ceremony
If the gate number two of Sher-e-Bangla national stadium could write, it would scribe a story of awaking from a long sleep of six months like the mythical character Kumbhakarana. On Sunday it was seen a small curios crowd was gathering in front of the gate while security guards were trying to disband them, a common scene in pre-pandemic era but an unusual one after the advent of the Covid-19 that halted all sorts of cricket matches in the home of Bangladesh cricket.
But that glimpse, an old familiarity, the humdrum in front of the portico was a clear sign that some sort of cricket match must be going on inside the colossal otherwise called SBNS. After many days of individual practice, restricted team practice under bio security bubble, finally a proper cricket match was staged in the stadium after six months as the first match of the three-team BCB President’s Cup took to the field. Voila, cricket is back, thanks to immense effort of BCB and the personnel behind the extravaganza.
In the opening game Mahmudullah XI took on Najmul XI and before the match, number of BCB directors, high-ups and president Nazmul Hasan took to the balcony of the president box for the opening ceremony. A minute of silence was observed in memory of cricket personalities who have passed away in recent months and fatal victims of Covid-19 in the country before the tournament was announced open.
General entry to the stadium was kept restricted but other arrangements that are required to have top level cricket was at place. There could be an argument whether the arrangement, including that of the live production for online platforms, were up to the mark – but considering this as a test project for the board to meet the long demand of getting the game return to the field, the stake holders should be happy.
BCB had suspended cricket in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic and though the country started getting back to normal activities since early August, cricket took its time. Considering the situation BCB had first come with the plan of resumption by playing away – with national team’s tour of Sri Lanka for a three-match Test series. The cricketers were initially allowed to attend individual practice sessions then into small groups and then as a full unit inside a bio-security bubble with weeks away from their travel to the island nation. The plan had however failed as BCB rejected to accept the health-safety conditions that was set by hosts Sri Lanka Cricket and the country’s Covid-19 Task Force.
But this did not derail the board from their intention. Almost immediately they had come with the back-up plan starting with a couple of practice matches with the red-ball followed by a 50-over tournament which eventually turned into BCB President’s Cup. Next will be a five-team corporate T20 league in November.
Based on the outcome of these events BCB will set its next course of action. Demand is at high for resumption of Dhaka Premier League which had got suspended following first round of matches in March, so thought will surely be put into this. The outcome of the events will also help BCB gain confidence of hosting international series at home and first in the card is having West Indies tour the country in January.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bangladesh was forced to postpone all its international schedules that include the final phase of the three-legged tour of Pakistan, which involved the second and last Test match of the series, along with the lone ODI.
Bangladesh then called off its scheduled tour of Ireland for a three-ODI series and four T20Is. Cricket Australia later called off its tour of Bangladesh for two Tests and this was followed by New Zealand Cricket pushing back its trip to Bangladesh for a two-Test series in August. With Sri Lanka, the push back has been made twice.