March 11, 2020 was when Bangladesh last played an international match -- the second and final match of the T20I series against Zimbabwe at home.
Soon afterwards, the coronavirus pandemic brought the world, and sport in general, to a standstill. With a global pandemic ravaging nations, health and safety came first and sport took a back seat.
Time went by and international cricket made its return in July 20202 when West Indies toured England, but for Bangladesh, the stage was not yet primed for international cricket's return.
Today, after over 10 months, Bangladesh will finally return to international cricket with the first of the three ODIs against the West Indies at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. The day-night game is scheduled to begin at 11.30 am local time.
It will be a fresh start under newly appointed ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal, who takes charge with a view to the 2023 ICC World Cup. It will also be the start of the era without the country's most successful ODI captain, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza.
One silver lining of the pandemic was that the Tigers did not have to play too many matches without talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who was banned by the ICC for one year in October 2019 for failing to report corrupt approaches from a bookie. Having served out his ban, Shakib will make his comeback in today's first ODI.
For Bangladesh, another positive aspect would be that they will be playing their most favoured format that -- fifty-over cricket. They will be up against a rather inexperienced Windies side after their top ten cricketers, including regular skipper Jason Holder, opted to skip the tour.
Stand-in West Indies skipper Jason Mohammad will have a tough job in hand to lead a young team against the Tigers, against whom they struggled even with the presence of their big names in the recent past.