CHENNAI: Bangladesh's decision to defer programmes to celebrate 100th birth anniversary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman due to coronavirus has cast doubt on the T20I series between World XI and Asia XI. Two matches are scheduled to be played in Dhaka on March 21 and 22 as a part of the celebrations. The global outbreak has also made the BCCI cautious as far as its players’ participation in the series is concerned.
“Players from western countries are also scheduled to participate. With regard to our players’ participation, we’ll review the situation and take a call accordingly,” Arun Dhumal, BCCI treasurer, told this daily. Speaking on deferment of celebrations in the wake of the medical emergency, Dhumal said, “In my knowledge and as of now, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has not officially intimated the BCCI in this regard. Anyway, whoever is dealing with the issue must be keeping a close watch on the developments.”
Bangladesh confirmed the first three cases of the coronavirus a few days ago forcing the government to change its plans. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country on March 17 was also put off after the Ministry of External Affairs received formal notification from Bangladesh in this regard on Monday.
Earlier on Sunday, the BCB president Nazmul Hassan Papon had informed media about the schedule, World XI squad and Indian players’ availability for the series. He though admitted that the Australian players have not yet confirmed their participation but claimed that Indian quartet of Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav will play both the games.
The BCB president also expressed a possibility of KL Rahul featuring in one of the two matches. Given the situation, the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday deferred her two-day tour of Japan but the BCB officials when enquired claimed that the series will go on. “As of now, the series is on. Obviously, the government’s decision will be final but so far we haven’t received any official communique from it,” a BCB official said.