Despite the Covid-19 situation being unchanged in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has been contemplating the resumption of team practice. But the board will not allow it all at once as the cricketers have been instructed to continue practising individually for now. They will practice as a team for a few days before flying to Sri Lanka.
The national team, as well as the High Performance (HP) team, will fly to Sri Lanka on September 23 or 24. Before that, a team comprising 20 or 22 players on mid-September will be announced. The players called up to the team will have to undergo a three-round Covid-19 screening. The screening will begin on September 18 and their samples will be collected from home, according to the chairman of BCB's cricket operations Akram Khan.
The players testing negative will stay in a hotel. They will participate in team practice for a couple of days and are supposed to fly to Sri Lanka on September 23.
After a meeting on Tuesday, Akram Khan informed, "Things will proceed as I said earlier. But the schedule has changed slightly. Players will be screened at their residences on September 18 and we are planning to shift to the hotel on the 20th. Players will practice for a couple of days before going to Sri Lanka."
The team will have a bigger squad to ensure that it has options. "We'll announce the team on between 10th and 15th of September. We will have an increased number of players, 20-22 to be precise. Covid-19 is more dangerous than it looks. There can be a lot of risks, so we have to make sure we have enough backups," Akram mentioned.
"It'll be a long tour. We are not yet sure how many days we have to stay quarantined. Coaches will have to stay quarantined as well on return. After that, the players will start practising. Needless to say, it will be difficult. But we are planning ahead of the tour so that there is no problem," Akram added.
The players who played in the previous series are going to be prioritised when the team will be announced. Besides, some new faces will be called up as backups so that they can be included in the main squad if necessary.
"The squad will be slightly bigger than usual. Players playing in the previous series will be there. In addition, we will also pick some players based on their performances in intra-squad games in Sri Lanka," said Akram Khan.
Before that, head coach Russell Domingo, spin bowling coach Daniel Vettori and other staff from abroad will return to Bangladesh in the first week of September. On return, they will stay quarantined for 14 days. They will also have to undergo Covid-19 tests along with the players. They will once again be tested on their arrival in Sri Lanka.
Akram Khan said, "The coaching staff will return by the end of the first week in September. They will be able to monitor the practice sessions only after they stay quarantined for 14 days. They will also be screened frequently in Sri Lanka. If someone tests positive, he'll have to be in complete isolation."
BCB proposed a T20I series apart from the three-match Test series but the Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) didn't agree because they have to host their franchise T20 tournament at that period.
To ensure a bio-secure environment, the matches will possibly be hosted in Colombo. "They haven't confirmed yet, but the series will most probably take place in Colombo. The medical facilities are very good there," Akram concluded.