With the whole world being affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Bangladesh government has taken the decision to shut down all sports till March 30 as a precautionary measure.
There have so far reportedly been ten cases of people in Bangladesh being infected with the coronavirus, a number that was zero a few days ago.
With the Bangabandhu Dhaka Premier League (BDPL) cricket tournament also being suspended after two days of matches being played, Abahani head coach Khaled Mahmud is hopeful that the matches will resume.
"We cannot stay idle and try to get on with the games. Not a lot of people come to visit the grounds when the BDPL matches are going on. Maybe 100-150 people and they are far away so I don't think that there is too much of a risk. Cricket is not a contact sport and it's not like you will catch the coronavirus if you fall down. So we should take steps accordingly and resume the games as soon as possible," he told the media on Tuesday.
With Tuesday marking the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Abahani had a small celebration but cutting a cake and Mahmud paid his tributes to Bangabandhu.
"Abahani was called Sheikh Kamal Cricket Club before. He's the founder of this club. Bangabandhu's name is etched with the history of this club. Not just Abahani, but all of Bangladesh has the Father of the Nation's name etched with their history. His limitless contributions for the independence of our country are well known by our people. Today is his 100th birthday and we pay tribute to him from our club," the former national cricket team captain said.
Mahmud though understood that the players' lives cannot be risked during such a pandemic and he was glad that the players were staying in the Bangladesh Cricket Board Academy in Mirpur, as he viewed that as a safe place.
"We had a game tomorrow which won't happen. We want to play. We know that the coronavirus pandemic is a threat to our health. Our players are safer in the academy than they would have been if they were out playing. The decision has come from the government and there is a chance that we may not be able to finish the DPL but we have to give importance to our health and that decision first. The faster we can get back in the field the better. But we cannot guarantee that there is no chance of coronavirus in our country so the players are better of here in quarantine and it is safe here. Hopefully things get back to normal soon," he added.
With the players now in the academy and not playing, Mahmud was not too fussed about how they would maintain their fitness levels as he felt that the training facilities and the gym would be ample support for them.
"Everyone is professional here I feel, especially the players in Abahani. In the next two days we won't be using the field as a precaution but that is available for the players to work on their fitness. We also have the gym so keep up their fitness should not be an issue. We don't have to push them to train, they know what's best for them and their fitness levels. There are games in the future and I think they will stay fit," he concluded.