All kind of sporting events around the globe has taken a severe hit from the coronavirus pandemic. Tokyo Olympics 2020, Euro 2020, Copa America 2020, French Open - all have been pushed back a year to 2021. And next in line, is the World Twenty20 (T20) in Australia, currently scheduled to start in October.
If the situation remains the same, it is very likely that the International Cricket Council (ICC) will be forced to move the World T20 back too. If that is the case, Bangladesh might be one of the sides benefitting from that decision.
Bangladesh will see their ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan make a return to the side after serving his suspension, making the team stronger. Also, the Tigers will have more time to devise a strategy and fixate on the team they want to field in the biggest global T20I tournament.
Return of Shakib
Shakib was banned from all forms of cricketing activity from October 29, 2019, after failing to report corrupt approaches. The World T20 kicking off at time would have seen Shakib excluded but if the tournament is even postponed for a couple of months, Shakib would make the cut.
Shakib was the T20I skipper of Bangladesh side when he was banned and it is very likely that he would take up the role on returning. If the World Cup is indeed postponed, Shakib will have time to devise a plan for the event. Which means, the postponement of the World T20 will see Bangladesh strengthening themselves with Shakib's batting, bowling and captaincy.
Enough time to settle the side
Bangladesh in recent T20I series have shuffled their playing elevens quite a bit. Players like Soumya Sarkar, Afif Hossain and Naim Sheikh are yet to find a fixed role or batting position in the side and going to the World Cup with such confusions might lead to chaos.
But if the tournament is postponed to 2021, Bangladesh will have enough time to fixate the roles of their players.
They have also lacked in planning their strategies, the shufflings suggest. A little more time and with Shakib back, they might just get the edge to figure out what they need to do to get success in a format which they are not the most successful.
Former Bangladesh seamer Hasibul Hossain Shanto believes that Shakib's return would definitely be a plus point for Bangladesh but other advantages might not be in plenty as it will be quite the same for the other teams too.
"Bangladesh will get Shakib's services, that will be a definite advantage. That is if he can return to form in time because he has been out of the game for some time. But this will be a definite plus point for Bangladesh," Shanto said.
He added, "To get any advantage, practising is required but nobody throughout the world is getting that. If the domestic leagues were being played, it could have been an advantage but when everything is a standstill, it is the same for every team."
He also said that it might look like from Bangladesh's performances in India and Pakistan that the team are not in good shape but those tours were not the reflection of their abilities.
Former national team player Sanowar Hossain also echoed Shanto's words as he said that having Shakib will hand Bangladesh an advantage in a format where they are not the strongest.
"Bangladesh have a plus point as Shakib will be returning. He is an asset for Bangladesh across all formats but as we are comparatively weaker in T20s, his inclusion will hand us an advantage," Sanowar opined.
He also implied that there will be no discrete advantage as the situation is the same for all the teams around. Sanowar said, "The added time is not helping as there are no matches or practise sessions. And it is not like this that only we are getting the added time, all the teams are getting it. Nobody can practise or play until the situation improves."
Bangladesh do not really have fond memories of T20 World Cups as their best performance in this event came in the first-ever edition in 2007. They will be surely be looking forward to making their mark in the upcoming edition. And if the pandemic leads to the tournament being postponed, they might just have a better opportunity.