Coronavirus disrupts Bangladesh Test plan

Staff Correspondent | Published: 22:12, Apr 05,2020


Bangladesh’s Nayeem Hasan celebrates a wicket with team-mate Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim on the opening day of their recent one-off Test against Zimbabwe at Mirpur on February 22, 2020. — BCB photo 

Former England Test captain Alistair Cook made his Test debut in 2006, a year after Mushfiqur Rahim, and has already ended his career in 2018 after playing 161 Tests scoring 12,472 runs and received a knighthood for his accomplishments while Mushfiq only has 70 Tests to his name.

This lack of playing opportunities in Tests is the main reason behind this disparity in stats and it has plagued Bangladesh throughout its journey in the longest format of the game.

Bangladeshi players, over the years, have pleaded for more matches against top Test nations but top-tier Test sides have always shown disinterest to tour or host the Tigers.

This trend, however, was set to change with the introduction of the ICC Test Championship, where the top-nine Test nations would fight out for points to determine who the best Test team in the world is.

The Test Championship meant Bangladesh would a get to play against the top Test teams and play consistently in the format for a long period.

Bangladesh began their Test Championship journey by touring India for a two-Test series last year and then played one Test each against Pakistan and Zimbabwe this year, the latter not part of the Championship.

Although Bangladesh began poorly in the championship, with innings defeats in all three matches, they had a chance to make a turnaround in their fortune as they had seven more Tests lined-up this year.

The Tigers were supposed to play their second and final Test against Pakistan in April, then host Australia and New Zealand for two Tests each in June and August respectively and tour Sri Lanka for three Tests in July.

The Tigers had the chance of playing 10 Tests in 2020, the most in a single year for them with the previous highest being nine in 2003, 2008 and 2017, but the global coronavirus pandemic has put Bangladesh’s Test season at a halt.

The last Test of the Pakistan tour has already been cancelled and Australia and New Zealand series were heading towards the same fate with Australia’s Test skipper Tim Paine and New Zealand Cricket’s chief executive officer David White hinting that their Bangladesh tour could be called off. 

Sri Lanka Cricket has kept mum on the Bangladesh series thus far, but with the outbreak getting more serious in the sub-continent, a cancellation call could be nearby.

Even if these series are just postponed right now they might not get replayed, feared Bangladesh Cricket Board’s chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury, with the current situation putting every nation’s cricket schedule in shambles.

When the situation improves, every team’s schedule is going to be jam-packed. There might not be a chance to play those matches, Nizamuddin told New Age earlier this week.

The CEO said that the board will concur with the ICC to come up with a solution regarding how the points of the championship will be shared but that would still rob the players of the opportunity from playing more Tests.

In a year where Bangladesh had the chance to divert maximum attention to Tests, with minimum number of one-day internationals scheduled, the virus outbreak has forcefully side-lined the country’s red-call cricket.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email