On Monday, when Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan said that it would not be possible to tour Sri Lanka under the strict and unique health protocols set by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), it would have come as a disappointment for those who were eagerly waiting to see the Bangladesh national side back in action after a long hiatus.
But his words also carried potential relief for domestic cricketers, whose hopes of returning to the field were raised when the BCB boss mentioned about starting domestic cricket "soon".
Cricket in Bangladesh has been halted since mid-March when the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) had to be suspended after completion of the first round due to the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus situation has only deteriorated since, casting doubts on resumption plans. However, normalcy has returned in daily life now, with people around the country gradually resuming regular activities.
Ever since cricket was halted, there was always talk of bringing it back, preferably with domestic leagues. And with the BCB boss now confidently talking about it, it seems that the conditions in the country are now favourable to get at least domestic cricket back on the ground.
The BCB president's words came as a ray of hope for domestic cricketers as they have been waiting for this moment for the past six months.
"We were waiting for this [domestic cricket to return]. If the Sri Lanka tour is cancelled, it would be beneficial for us if the board then ensures the return of the DPL," said Tushar Imran, Bangladesh's highest first-class run-scorer.
For a board that has been stressing on the importance of players' safety and putting their health issues above all since the start of the pandemic, it now will be a challenge for them to decide how to ensure safety for players playing in the domestic tournaments when they resume. The BCB also needs to decide which domestic tournament to bring back first.
However, when domestic players were asked about their preference regarding the matter, the choice seemed to be obvious.
"There is an issue of our payment and also the matter of completing matches this calendar year. So, it is our request that whenever domestic cricket starts, it should start with the DPL," opined Tushar.
Hassan on Monday hinted that the BCB may not be able to manage all the DPL clubs and may prefer starting the domestic league on a limited scale with the involvement of 50-60 players. But according to Enamul Haque Jnr, another regular figure at the domestic level, such a decision would not benefit them much.
"We always wanted to resume with the DPL. Now we hope that the BCB considers involving and playing all the players whenever they decide to resume. Because if they start with just 50-60 players then at the end of the day, most of the players will be sitting out. So, we hope that BCB considers everything before making any decision," said Enamul.
When Tushar was asked the same question, all the 36-year-old had to say was, "BCB has the capability to manage all the clubs. If the BCB says clubs will have to play, then they can do it. It will be a request to [Nazmul Hassan] Papon bhai to communicate with the clubs about this. Domestic leagues in different countries have already started. Even as big a tournament as IPL is also set to begin. So, I think it is possible for the BCB."