International cricket made its return in England yesterday after a long break due to coronavirus pandemic. Many other countries like Sri Lanka, West Indies, Pakistan and South Africa had already made up their minds regarding taking the challenges in new normal.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), however, is yet to make up their minds on resumption, barring the recent disclosure that they have kept grounds and practice facilities fully prepared and functional so that they can bring cricketers back on the field sooner rather than later.
Cricketers working on fitness from home has become a common sight on social media but there is an exception in the form of experienced Mushfiqur Rahim. The wicketkeeper-batsman on Tuesday posted a video on social media where he was seen knocking the ball, rolling and running at the Fortis Sports Club ground, located in the capital's Badda, that has created lot of confusion among the cricketers regarding the guidelines of BCB.
Previously, Mushfiqur and another wicketkeeper-batsman, Mohammad Mithun, were denied by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) when the cricketers wanted to have individual training sessions at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, as the area has been marked as a Covid-19 red zone.
However, Mushfiqur's recent training video raised questions among other cricketers, who are also keen on training outdoors but are uncertain about the exact guidelines from the BCB on whether they can practice individually near their neighbourhoods.
Players are divided in their opinions over the resumption of cricket in this situation, but many were surprised by Mushfiqur's outdoor practices. Some did not respond to it positively. There was the feeling that there was no need to go outside, especially after the BCB recently took the initiative of allowing players to borrow gym equipment for maintaining fitness at home. Mushfiqur was the first to avail the facilities from the board and posted a photo of his visit to the home of cricket in Mirpur on Monday.
"We have been away from cricket for over three months and, like Mushfiqur, we also miss the game a lot. But we have some guidelines from the BCB about not going outside for training and we are trying to follow that. Now if Mushfiqur is training despite all the risks involved, it actually portrays that we, the other cricketers, are not ready to take the field, which is not true. I think we should have proper guidelines from the board on whether we can do skill training elsewhere apart from Mirpur," said a national cricketer requesting anonymity.
According to the BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the board normally 'discourages' such individual training keeping the current coronavirus situation in the country in mind.
"Mushfiqur is one of the most experienced cricketers of the Bangladesh team and he knows how to take proper safety measures and practice. We have prepared our training facilities in Mirpur, but due to the area falling under the red zone, we urged cricketers to train from home. We even allowed them to take instruments. However, we do discourage cricketers from going outside and doing skill training, keeping their safety in mind. It is their individual responsibility to realise the situation," Nizamuddin told The Daily Star.
"Mainly, Dhaka is very congested and risky so we discourage practice here, especially in Mirpur which is a red zone. If anyone who is outside Dhaka wants to practice, they must inform us and follow our guidelines."
According to the BCB Cricket Operations Committee chairman Akram Khan, it is Mushfiqur who has to take responsibility if anything unpleasant happens and not the board.
"This is not the first time he was practicing outside his house. We have seen him running in the streets. We saw him working out in an empty field. He will have to take responsibility for his actions. We are not responsible if anything untoward happens due to this," said Akram.
Many cricketers are left wanting proper guidelines from the BCB rather than hearing the word 'discouraging' about whether they will also be able to train over the country at their own risk.