Tigers’ NZ series uncertain

Sports Correspondent

4 April, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) received yet another blow as the two-match Test series against New Zealand in August looks to be in doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand Cricket conceded upcoming tours to Europe and the West Indies were unlikely to proceed Friday, with doubts also hanging over a planned visit to Bangladesh.

Bangladesh were scheduled to play two Tests against New Zealand in August at home which was part of ICC Test Championship.

New Zealand Cricket raised their doubts within 72 hours after Australian Test skipper Tim Paine voiced that someone doesn’t have to Einstein to understand that their two-match Test series against Bangladesh can be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic which gripped the whole world.

Though BCB officials are yet to speak with their counterparts in Cricket Australia or New Zealand Cricket to take any decision regarding the upcoming home series but as it stands, chances look very slim for the series to be held as per schedule considering the way everything stands in the present world, that is passing through one of the biggest crisis since World War 2.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, cricket is at a halt across the world and Bangladesh is no exception with BCB deciding to postpone all their cricketing activities until further notice.

Bangladesh has confirmed six deaths and sixty one infected Covid-19 cases which includes five more addition to the list in the last 24 hours while 26 patients have recovered from the novel coronavirus so far.

According to the officials, among the people infected by the coronavirus 22 people were treated in the hospital while the rest were treated at home.

Though BCB did not officially announce the itinerary of the series against New Zealand apart from slating it in August, it was expected to be at the top in their priority list as BCB confirmed the itinerary of forthcoming two-match Test series against Australia, scheduled to be held in June 11 to June 23.

“At this moment everything is under doubt,” said a BCB official on Friday.

“Though we have not spoken with either CA (Cricket Australia) or NZC (New Zealand Cricket) in this regard but unless everything returns to normalcy and that too in quick time, we don’t think we can carry on with our initial international cricket calendar,” said the official.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White on Friday said Black Caps tours to Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands and the West Indies in June and July are “most unlikely” to go ahead because of the coronavirus pandemic while a tour to Bangladesh in August is also in doubt.

NZC chief executive David confirmed the postponement of the White Ferns’ tour of Sri Lanka, scheduled to start later this month, and said it was “most unlikely” the Black Caps would proceed with their tours of Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands and West Indies planned for June and July.

White said there were obvious question marks over the Black Caps’ visit to Bangladesh, and the New Zealand A tour to India, both scheduled to start in August, but it was too early to categorically rule them out.

Bangladesh were scheduled to host New Zealand for two matches of Test Championship in August.

“Clearly, this situation is extremely disappointing for everyone involved in sport but, given the bigger picture, and the terrible toll Covid-19 is taking worldwide, we need to look after not only our own people but the greater community good,” White said in a statement.

“With the lockdown now in full force we’re mindful of the difficulties facing our cricket community, particularly in view of the suspension of trust funding.

“Our current focus is very much on ensuring the future sustainability of cricket in New Zealand.”

White said cricket in New Zealand was better placed to navigate the shutdown caused by the pandemic because it had completed most of its summer domestic program before the viral outbreak hit.

“Cricket in New Zealand has been fortunate in that we were very much at the end of our home summer programme when this crisis struck,” he said.