International cricket made its grand return with the just-concluded Test between England and West Indies with the other Test playing nations also preparing to reenter the international arena while Bangladesh and India continued their cricketing shutdown due to declining COVID-19 situation.
The coronavirus outbreak had put a stop to competitive cricket around the world for the better part of this year, with every cricket playing nation being forced to postpone international engagements and domestic cricket tournaments to curb the spread of the pandemic.
This forced sabbatical of cricket finally ended with the Southampton Test between the Caribbean side and the current world champions, which the visitors won by four wickets.
After this three-Test series ends, Pakistan, who are currently conducting a training camp in Worcestershire, will take on England in August in three Tests and three Twenty20s.
New Zealand, who were highly successful in keeping the coronavirus infections to a bare minimum, finally began the training of their men’s and women’s national side from Monday in Lincoln with the first of six national camps scheduled for them.
South Africa, on June 29, began the camp of the 44-member High Performance training squad which included all of their star national team players like Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Cock, Kagiso Rabada etc.
Australia, who were the first to allow their players return to the training field, had begun their pre-season from mid-May.
Sri Lanka, who fared comparatively better in combating the deadly virus then its neighbours, had held a 12-day residential training camp for 13 players from June 1, when their now postponed bi-lateral series against India and Bangladesh were still on the cards.
Zimbabwe, who are not currently holding any training camp, have lifted the restrictions over cricket on June 10.
Newest members of Test cricket, Afghanistan and Ireland, also were not sitting idly with the Asian side already completing a month-long training camp in Kabul with 22 players which began on June 7 and Ireland set to tour England for a three-match one-day international series later this month.
The only Test playing nations not to start any official training activity with their national team players were Bangladesh and India.
Both countries were seeing the number of infections and fatality due to the virus increase at an alarming rate every day, making resumption of cricket a very dangerous prospect.
Board of Control for Cricket in India were also seemingly more interested to host their cash-rich Twenty20 tournament the Indian Premier league then restarting international cricket.
Bangladesh Cricket Board had hinted that it would begin a training camp for the national team players later this month and claimed that it was ready to facilitate a safe environment for the cricketers in its training facilities.
But the postponement of the Asia Cup has seemingly ended BCB’s urgency to start a camp and a return to the training field still looked distant for the local cricketers.
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