Australia’s August tour of Bangladesh ‘on’

Australia’s tour of Bangladesh for a five-match T20 series in August will go ahead despite an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases in this country, according to a media report.

Quoting unnamed sources, The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Cricket Australia is satisfied with the bio-security arrangements that the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has promised to provide the players during the tour.

Meanwhile, the BCB has announced the itinerary for the August tour. The visiting side will play five T20 internationals against the hosts at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka. The Australians will arrive in Dhaka on 29 July.

BCB’s chief executive Nizam Uddin Chowdhury said, “The BCB and Cricket Australia have worked tirelessly together for confirming the itinerary. Naturally this was a challenge due to the Covid-19 pandemic as ensuring health safety and security is a priority prerequisite for holding any cricket series in these times.

“I am pleased to say that a comprehensive bio-security plan is in place and will be implemented during the tour for the protection of players and staff of the two teams and the match officials. We are really looking forward to an exciting and enjoyable contest between Bangladesh and Australia.”

The tour had looked a solid prospect until the Bangladesh government eased the lockdown restrictions for eight days for the holy festival of Eid-ul-Adha, raising concerns about the Covid situation in the country.

Health experts in Australia, including the chief of the national advisory committee to Covid-19, have criticised the move. They have warned the ease could fuel the already devastating Covid situation of the country.

Despite that, Cricket Australia is reportedly happy with Bangladesh’s proposed bio-security arrangements for the tour.

BCB had earlier proposed that Cricket Australia split the series into two venues in Dhaka and Chattogram, which the latter disagreed due to the grim Covid-19 situation.

The Australia cricket team will take a chartered flight from the Caribbean, where they are touring currently, to Dhaka next week. They will travel to the team hotel directly from the airport. While travelling to the team hotel from the airport, the Australian team members will not require traditional immigration procedures at the airport to avert Covid-19 risks.

The Australian cricket team was scheduled to tour Bangladesh in June 2020 for a Test series, which was a part of the World Test Championship. But due to the Covid-19 situation then, they had cancelled the tour. However, the Covid-19 situation then was better than now.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh national team is touring Zimbabwe for a one-off Test, three ODIs and three T20s. The Test and ODIs had already been played, and won by the Tigers. The T20 series is set to kick off on Thursday at the Harare Sports Club.

Source: United News of Bangladesh