DHAKA – Bangladesh’s ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan’s possibility to play the World T20 looks bright after the hosts Australia showed its doubt over holding the tournament on time due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to decide the fate of the cricket’s third biggest extravaganza in the next month was a clear indication that the world cricket apex body is keen to hold the tournament on scheduled. But now the host country’s doubt put the tournament’s future at stake.
The tournament is slated to start on the third week of October this year, with the teams playing first round to make them qualify for the tournament proper where the big eight teams got automatic entry.
Bangladesh is drawn is Group B along with Namibia, Netherlands and Scotland. They will play against those three opponents on October 19, 21 and 23. The Group A however consisted with Ireland, Oman, Papua New Guiana and Sri Lanka.
Shakib Al Hasan’s ban will be lifted on October 29 but if the tournament is held in scheduled time, he can’t be available for the selection because the ICC won’t give the permission to change the team in the midst of the tournament.
So in that case, only he could be available for Bangladesh if the tournament is shifted to a new date due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings statement about the fate of the World T20 however could give Shakib and Bangladesh a ray of hope.
With many global borders still shut due to virus-related travel restrictions, Eddings conceded that was looking increasingly unlikely.
“While it hasn’t been formally called off this year, or postponed, trying to get 16 countries into Australia in the current world, where most countries are still going through COVID spiking, I think it’s unrealistic, or it’s going to be very, very difficult,” he said.
Cricket in Bangladesh has been suspended on March 17 for indefinite time after the outbreak of Covid-19.
Bangladesh in this period saw a postponement of their third phase tour of Pakistan, a bilateral series in Ireland and England and the home Test series against Australia. The three-match Test series in Sri Lanka in late July was also in jeopardized state as the BCB is yet to decide on the tour.
With the cricketers still confined at the home, they need some time to get into the zone.
Bangladesh chief selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu however had no reservation to admit that they will be really happy if the tournament is deferred.
“We will be benefitted if we get the service of Shakib Al Hasan. You know if Shakib plays for Bangladesh, our chance in the T20 World Cup will be definitely enhanced,” Minahjul earlier told the BSS.
At the same time, the chief selector revealed that they will get enough time to build a team for the T20 world Cup if the tournament is deferred.
“It is difficult to think about cricket in the present condition. If the tournament is deferred for sometimes, we will get adequate time to build our team because it will also give us the opportunity to experiment with more players,” he added.
Minhajul Abedin Nannu however doesn’t want to think about cricket at this difficult time.
“I am in the favour of bringing back cricket after this situation is over. We have to think about the safety of the players. If the things become normal, we will also have to allow them some time to recover. We need to see their fitness, health issue and others because they will play cricket in the ground.”BSS