Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan said yesterday that the planned tour of Sri Lanka later this month for three Test matches would not be possible under the Covid-19 health protocols Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had sent to the BCB the previous day.
Hassan termed the strict health protocols imposed by SLC as "historically unique" and communicated the board's stance to its Sri Lankan counterparts after a meeting of the board directors and high-ups at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.
According to the latest health guideline letter sent to the BCB by the SLC, the visitors will have to go on a strict 14-day quarantine after their arrival and during the period they would not even be allowed to go outside their hotel rooms.
The England and Wales Cricket Board had allowed West Indies, Pakistan and Australia to continue their training during the quarantine period and even facilitated intra-squad practice matches. The upcoming Indian Premier League, which is set to begin in the UAE, has a six-day mandatory quarantine period.
In addition to that the SLC has also rejected BCB's request to take a 65-member contingent -- including the High Performance squad -- to the island, instead granting permission only for the national team and its officials, comprising 30 members.
"A lot of terms are new to us. Many countries have a seven-day quarantine but the touring team there are allowed to practice. In some places teams are allowed to get to the field after a three-day quarantine. But the terms given by SLC yesterday [Sunday] say none of our team members will even be allowed to go out of their rooms for 14 days. Not even to have a food. We feel there is some reason behind this – maybe their Covid-19 situation is tougher than it appears. They are playing domestic cricket there but when it came to us, they are trying to impose these restrictions," Hassan told reporters yesterday.
"We will have our team initially in Dambulla and not in Colombo. Despite that they are not allowing our team members to get out from the room. These terms are surprising. Speaking of practice facilities, they will not provide even the net bowlers and at the same time they are not allowing us to carry any. This is not child's play; this is the ICC Test championship. There is a big difference between their thinking and ours," the BCB boss added.
According to Hassan, the BCB will not wait long for SLC's response and will move towards returning cricket to Bangladesh through domestic competitions.
"We are expecting to hear back from them tomorrow [Tuesday]. We have one simple message to them, the terms they are trying to impose are historically unique. It is not possible to play Test championship under such terms. If they invite us for further discussion, we will see where it heads to," he said.
Hassan's words seemed to have had an effect in Sri Lanka as Namal Rajapaksa, the cabinet minister of youth affairs and sports, tweeted a response to news of Hassan's stance and seemed to be seeking resolve the conflict between the two boards.
"As we all know the #COVID-19 pandemic is still at large globally, prevention measures are a high priority. However, given the significance of #cricket in the region, I have asked @OfficialSLC to consult the Covid task force and reconsider the @BCBtigers matter," he tweeted in the evening yesterday, and added a Bangla translation of the tweet soon afterwards.