Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials have said that the upcoming tour of Tigers for the proposed three-match Test series will be called off and rescheduled if Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) decides not to abide by protocols set by the country's COVID task force.
Bangladesh's tour of Sri Lanka, which was scheduled for July to August, was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.Bangladesh were expected to travel to Sri Lanka on September 27 for the three-Test series which is scheduled to start from October 23 but later tourists had to alter their plans as they failed to get a response from the hosts regarding their concern over the quarantine period.
It was learnt that the national health and security agencies of Sri Lanka have urged SLC to ensure that the tourists complete their 14-day mandatory quarantine after arriving in the island without any provision of training during the time, insisting that they should remain isolated for the period in their hotel.
BCB President Nazmul Hasan Papon said his team will not travel to Sri Lanka for the three-match Test series if the 14-day quarantine rule proposed by Sri Lanka's health and security agencies was instated.
“Whatever the feedback we get from the COVID task force, will be shared with Bangladesh Cricket Board. And once we get the response, if they (BCB) are not prepared to abide by those guidelines given by the task force, then we would be compelled to call the tour off and reschedule the tour during the same cycle maybe for next year or the following year,” SLC honorary secretary Mohan De Silva was quoted during an interview to ThePapare.com.
BCB had earlier raised issue with the quarantine protocols and the tour party being restricted to 30 members. BCB had planned to send the HP side to Sri Lanka along with the national team but due to the strict protocols, BCB President Nazmul Hassan said that it was going to be difficult to send even the national team along with support staff and team management to a tour and added that the demands were 'historically unique'.
BCB has already started a residential camp for its 27-member preliminary squad by creating a bio-secure bubble with frequent coronavirus testing.Sri Lanka tour provided a chance for the Tigers to get back to international cricket after a six-month long break imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. With uncertainty now reigning on the fate of the series, if the two boards cannot come to a consensus, the players will have to extend their pause from international cricket during these uncertain times of the pandemic.
Silva said that he is hopeful that the Bangladesh team will arrive in Sri Lanka in due time, hoping for a quick resolution to the situation adding that they are negotiating with concerned authorities so that international cricket can resume in the country.
“We've been negotiating with them (BCB) and they have sent us their requirements. We've done extremely well to keep the pandemic under control and therefore there are strict health guidelines and protocols we have to follow. However, the authorities showed great encouragement in us resuming international cricket. We're discussing with them and I'm sure we will be able to resolve this and expect the Bangladesh team to arrive in Sri Lanka without much delay,” Mohan said.
BCB has already started a residential camp for its 27-member preliminary squad by creating a bio-secure bubble with frequent coronavirus testing.