The Bangladesh national team will return to competitive cricket following a break imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, through their tour of Sri Lanka, slated to begin with a Test series from October 24, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) confirmed via a media release yesterday. Apart from the three-match Test series in Sri Lanka -- part of the ICC Test Championship, Bangladesh are also likely to play a T20I series but the tour itinerary is yet to be confirmed.
The tour was finalised yesterday following a meeting between Cricket Operations Committee (COC) and High Performance (HP). The series was originally scheduled for July but was postponed following the outbreak of coronavirus. Preparation and training camps were discussed in the meeting alongside the prospect of Shakib Al Hasan's ban coming to an end on October 29.
The Tigers are likely to leave for Sri Lanka on the tentative date of September 23 and will be accompanied by the HP side.
"We discussed quite a few matters including conducting Covid-19 tests before the start of camp. We have made some good plans which will be communicated later. There was also the matter of how long we can prepare here before leaving for Sri Lanka and most probably we will train for 10-12 days from mid-September before departure. The HP team is also going with us and will train with the national side before the national team's series on October 24," COC chairman Akram Khan said in the media release.
"We discussed about Shakib but there is much of discussion left. We also discussed bringing the coach and support staff here and hopefully we will be able to do that at the beginning of September," the statement added.
Shakib Al Hasan was banned last year for failing to report corrupt approaches from a bookie. His ban comes to an end on October 29, but the BCB is yet to make any decision regarding his return to the team.
"We need to be clear about what the ICC guidelines say regarding his ban before we can move forward. We know that he can't practice with the team before his ban comes to an end. We have to consult the coach, Shakib and the board president and it was an agenda in the meeting but nothing has been finalised," Akram said.
"Definitely it's in our minds that he is an important player and when he is there, the team becomes stronger," Akram added.
It was learned that BCB would bear expenses for first three weeks' stay in Sri Lanka for both the national team and the HP team.
Colombo is the likely destination for the Tigers due to the presence of quality medical services there. "There is the important matter of the Covid-19 certificate 72 hours before departure and the players will be tested there again. However, it's not yet clear how long we have to stay [in quarantine]," he reiterated.
The HP side was schedules to tour Sri Lanka as part of its annual away tours program. "The HP team will now coordinate with the national team during their tour before focusing on the HP's own program in Sri Lanka," High Performance (HP) chairman Naimur Rahman said.