It is very likely that the third phase of Bangladesh cricket tour of Pakistan may be postponed or held in stadium without spectators. Corona Virus avalanche has already impacted sporting events all over the world. Many countries have imposed travel bans.
Bangladesh has postponed Mujib Barsho Cricket Tournament, BBCI has deferred IPL, England Team is returning home from Sri Lanka. ICC has decided to conduct its executive committee meeting scheduled in Dubai executed through Video conferencing. In soccer, basketball and athletics may major events, league has either been cancelled or postponed.
In view of all above Even if Bangladesh tour to Pakistan goes ahead travelling to Pakistan is a concern. Air travel and air ports are other areas of concern. Hope all these will be properly managed. But BCB and PCB must carry out extensive risks identifications, assessment and management prior to taking final decision of letting the final leg of the tour going ahead.
Bangladesh after going through a very lean patch has just started walking along purple path. Whatever be the strength and standard of touring Zimbabwe, the manner Bangladesh achieved comprehensive series white wash has every reason for getting optimistic. Bangladesh would definitely give much better account of them in all format of cricket at home and abroad.
Following ceremonious completion of Mashrafe tenure of ODI captaincy BCB has announced Tamim Iqbal Khan as the ODI captain over longer term. With this Bangladesh has three different captains Mominul Haq for test, Tamim Iqbal Khan for ODI and Mahmudullah Riad for T20 internationals. Whether or not circumstances required doing that, only time will prove. But absence of Shakib Al Hasan serving term of ICC made it essential that Bangladesh opt for other(s) for Test and T20 leadership. Mashrafe decision of quitting ODI leadership required a new leader for ODI. BCB also separated players in central contract for White ball and Red ball. BCB bosses agreed with agitating players prior to India tour to increase number of players on central contract. But in reality number of players on central contract for 2020 has not been increased. May be after DCL some more players would be added to central contract.
Bangladesh would play the remaining test and one ODI in Pakistan next month is the tour goes ahead. Then they will play in Ireland and England against Ireland. This will be followed by Australia visiting Bangladesh for two tests. Then there are Asia Cup and ICC World T20 Championship. For all these Bangladesh needs to keep at least 50 total number of quality players ready across three formats. We are not very sure treatment to two top players Mahmudullah and Mushfique in the recent past was proper. Mahmudullah is still an automatic choice in all formats. May be he went through a prolonged long patch in test. But his class must not have been devalued. How can he be denied contract in red ball cricket? Similarly can a player of Mushfique’s pedigree be pressurized for changing his legitimate decision of not touring Pakistan? What did BCB gained from resting him for the last ODI against Zimbabwe depriving him from the opportunity for playing under his long time mate Mashrafe for the last time.
It is a good omen that Tamim is back in his brilliant best and Liton seems to be in the form of his life. This will give Bangladesh lot of comfort for opening the batting in all formats. Soumya and Naim are other options in ODI and T20 .Nazmul Hasan Shanto is growing as a good option as number three in test and ODI. If he is not fit one of the openers can drop back at three in ODI and T20 and Mominul is there for three in test . Till Shakib is back number three position in ODI and T20 appears well covered. Mushfique at four or five remains the nucleus of Bangladesh batting in all format. In late middle oreder Bangladesh now has Mahmudullah, Mithun, Afiff, Mehedy Miraj and Saifuddin. We have to see how leg spinner Aminul matures. He looked great in his brief appearance. BCB must be patient with him. Mustafiz and Saifuddin are main wicket taking options with pace in all formats .Ebadad, Abu Jayed , Al Amin and Shafiul are other options. Taijul and Mehedy Meraj have to relied upon for spinning for Bangladesh till Shakib is back. Bangladesh must not keep changing and chopping players. Rotation policy giving necessary rest to key players in a planned manner is all right for keeping all fresh. But tagging main wicket taking bowlers for tests or ODI is luxury for Bangladesh at this stage.
Corona Virus is a WHO declared Pandemic now. Bangladesh can do nothing but keeping alert and taking all actions for limiting damage. But life must go on.
Test against Pakistan is not too far. Hope the test players would be kept under close monitoring even though they will be busy playing DCL. Bangladesh can not afford another dismal performance in Test against Pakistan. We are sure Bangladesh will be usual competitive in ODI. Special attention must be focused on Mohammad Ashraful and few other players whom we still consider enough cricket left for serving Bangladesh for three to four more years.
BDST: 1240 HRS, MAR 14, 2020