Despite green light, cricketers reluctant to resume training

The Daily Star  July 16, 2020

Despite the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Monday deciding to allow interested players across the country to avail the board’s training facilities and resume individual practice following a four-month halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, a few players remain in a state of confusion.

Local authorities at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, an international standard venue, have prepared the ground and are ready to allow entry to interested players for individual training.

But several local cricketers would rather continue doing fitness work at home as they have been since the enforced break. While some cricketers are backtracking due to coronavirus fears, others are waiting for a clear official announcement from the BCB regarding the resumption of practice.

The BCB considered making their facilities available after numerous videos of national team players, including wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, practising outdoor were posted on social media, stirring discussion. Some players have avoided resuming practice due to fears of being dragged into such conversations.

Right-arm pacer Abu Jayed, a regular member of the Bangladesh Test team, mentioned that he would await BCB’s official announcement before taking the field.

Another reason behind players’ reluctance to return to the field is the uncertainty regarding international tours and series. It is still unclear at this time if there will be any international tours this year — especially after the postponement of the Asia Cup, originally scheduled for September.

Even the resumption of the Dhaka Premier League, which was halted after the completion of the first round in mid-March, is unconfirmed. With no cricket on the horizon, players are opting to bide their time before taking the risk of going out to practice.

Cricketers are maintaining fitness by doing gym and running sessions regularly but it is skills training that players have been missing most during the halt.

Khaled Ahmed, another national pacer from Sylhet, has been honing his skills in an open space in front of his house in Alompur. But, for now, Khaled will be practising in his front yard rather than hurrying to avail facilities at international grounds.

“I haven’t set a date [to return to practice] yet. The BCB also did not relay any message to us. We have been in touch with the coach [Russell Domingo] and he has asked us to work on our fitness from home as we do not have any upcoming series. He asked us not to rush into anything now. So I’ll just wait out this month before returning to training,” said Khaled.

Meanwhile, Ebadot Hossain, another national pacer, has been availing the gym facilities at his residence in Moulvibazar and doing regular running sessions to keep himself fit. Bangladesh Under-19 pacer Tanzim Sakib is also walking the same line.

It was confirmed after discussion with a few cricketers that they are now awaiting a proper guideline from the BCB before returning to cricket.

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