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25 March, 2020 04:55:57 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 25 March, 2020 11:46:37 AM

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Coronavirus scare hits sports arena hard

National players may play in DPL T20 for preparations ahead of World Cup
MD ABU TALHA SARKER, Dhaka
Coronavirus scare hits sports arena hard
Members of DPL team Gazi Cricketers attend a practice session at the National Cricket Academy in Mirpur recently. BCB Photo

No one knows when the hazard posed by the life-threatening coronavirus will end in Bangladesh and the world over. But it can be easily inferred that everyone will take some more time to return to normal life. Just like other sectors, the mounting scare of the dreaded virus has hit the sports arena of the country.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has suspended all domestic sporting events along with its tour of Pakistan and Ireland for an indefinite period. Bangladesh are scheduled to play 13 more T20 internationals prior to the 2020 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which is supposed to begin in Australia on October 18 with 16 teams. Hosts Australia and other top-ranked seven teams—Pakistan, India, England, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies, and Afghanistan—will play directly in the Super-12 stage.

The ninth-ranked Sri Lanka, 10th-ranked Bangladesh, and qualifiers Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Namibia, Scotland, and Oman have been split into A and B groups. The champions and runners-up of each group will proceed to the Super 12. Bangladesh have been drawn in Group B with Netherlands, Scotland, and Namibia. If Bangladesh tops the group, they will join Afghanistan, England, India, South Africa, and A2 (runners-up of Group-A) in Group 2. And if they become runners up in Group B, they will join Pakistan, New Zealand, West Indies, Australia, and A1 (Group A) champions in Group-1.

In Super 12, a total of 12 teams, split into two groups, 1 and 2, will fight to get to the knockout stage.  Only six months remain for the kick-off of the seventh edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup-2020.

Already, Bangladesh have played six of T20I matches, including three against Zimbabwe and as many matches against Pakistan. They have chalked up a mixed result against those teams. They, therefore, were scheduled to play a four-match T20I series against Ireland. The matches were due to be played in England as the Cricket Ireland (CI) has shifted the venues from Dublin to England. The shift has been made for the refurbishment work in progress at their T20 venue, where they had hosted the Tigers for T20I series after a three-match ODI series.

But Bangladesh, just like the other teams participating in the forthcoming World T20, will not get enough time to prepare for the extravaganza. All cricket boards have suspended cricket for an indefinite period because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has already killed several thousand people around the world.

Even after the pandemic ends, no team will show the courage to tour abroad. Every team will try to recoup the losses by their own means with little time left for the T20 world cup.

The suspension of the Ireland tour has come as a blow to the Bangladesh team. The Tigers have missed a big opportunity to play under English conditions, which are not very different from Australian conditions. The team have also lost the opportunity to find the right combination for T20 cricket.

Of late, a couple fresh players, Afif Hossain Dhrubo and Mohammad Naim Sheikh, have signed their white-ball new central contract. The team management could have  given the new players a chance to prove their mettle.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has, meanwhile, announced that it will not make any change in the schedule of the tournament.  So, the BCB has two options at hand to recoup the deficit of playing T20 matches ahead of the T20 flagship event.

First, they have a DPL Twenty20 Tournament ahead that will be organised with the participation of the teams that will qualify for the Super Six of the league. The board can inject the national players in the teams so that they can get some good practice by playing in a competitive tournament prior to the T20 world cup.

Second, they can organise a special edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) with franchisees or without franchisees. But it may not be possible for the board to arrange a BPL within a short time. In that case, the board can go ahead with the DPL T20 Tournament. But if it wants to do so, it has to start planning right away.

Amin Khan, coordinator of the Cricket Committee of the Dhaka Metropolitan (CCDM), said they would feel much better if the DPL T20 League could be arranged a gorgeous manner. “We have plans to make the DPL T20 League a gorgeous event. But if the board wants to expand the scale, it would be better for the country’s cricket. We are ready to help the board if it comes forward with such a plan,” he added.

Walton Group, sponsor of the DPL, will welcome the move if the BCB comes with such an innovative plan.

Walton CEO Milton Ahmed said they had plans to make DPL T20 a blockbuster tournament. “When the CCDM proposed to us a T20 tournament with the participation of all premier clubs, we agreed to their proposal without any hesitation. We had initial plans to shape the tournament like the BPL,” he added. “We’ll help the board if it wants to make DPL T20 a BPL-like tournament,” Ahmed added.

 

 

 

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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