More cricketers likely for second phase of individual training

The first phase of the individual training sessions, arranged by the Bangladesh Cricket Board [BCB] after repeated requests from cricketers, ended yesterday with players seeming to gain in confidence despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The individual training sessions had started with ten cricketers on July 19 and were scheduled to conclude on July 26. By the end of that time, 13 cricketers were working on their fitness and skills at four venues across the country, including the home of cricket in Mirpur. The sessions were then extended by two days following requests from cricketers.

The arrangement is being considered the BCB’s first step towards resumption of cricket, which was halted in the country in mid-March due to the pandemic.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Nurul Hasan was among those who joined the sessions at Khulna’s Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium from the start alongside Mahedi Hasan and Mehedi Hasan Miraz.

“The arrangement was very good and it was a good opportunity in itself that we got to go to the field after a long break. Of course, enthusiasm was not at the level that it would be at if we had practised with a team, but considering the situation, it was the best that could be arranged. I am happy to have been able to come to the field and shake the rust off. We are not expecting everything to get back to normal right away but this can be a first step to resumption,” Nurul told media yesterday.

2020 was supposed to be a busy year for the Tigers, but the pandemic has led to five of their bilateral series being postponed and major events like the Asia Cup T20 and ICC World T20 being cancelled.

As far as domestic cricket is concerned, the Dhaka Premier League was suspended after the first round, which has started to hurt local players who rely on the domestic circuit for their livelihood.

Nurul believes offering individual practice sessions encouraged many cricketers to take to the field and that there would be a rise in numbers after the Eid-ul-Adha holiday.

“We were told that this setup might be there even after the Eid vacation. That way we can hope that the game will slowly also return to its place. At the start, the situation seemed very critical and everything seemed uncertain. But as you can see now, life is getting back to normal. People are courageous enough to fight the situation that we are in, going out and doing their regular business. So, this is actually building hope [in cricketers] that we will get to see the game back on the field in a few months,” said Nurul.

“I have heard more cricketers will join this arrangement after the Eid vacation; this shows the intention of the cricketers to slowly get back to normal. And other countries slowly returning to the game is also encouraging. Although there might be a difference in terms of dealing with the situation and measures, these are still encouraging,” he added.

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