As the days with the coronavirus cloud goes on, there is nothing but tension in the air. Tuesday saw a record spike in the number of coronavirus cases in Bangladesh as 41 new patients tested positive for the virus and five more were dead, increasing the death toll to 17.
The whole world is going nowhere. Everything is at a halt, the sporting arena throughout the world is suspended and Bangladesh, with a rising concern of the novel coronavirus, is no different.
The biggest sporting event to be suspended because of the pandemic in Bangladesh is the Bangabandhu Dhaka Premier League (BDPL), the country's premier 50-over tournament. Regular performers in this tournament have hoped that the BDPL returns to action soon and everybody gets the opportunity to caress the green of the field.
One of the regular starters in the BDPL said that he was afraid that if the league did not resume, he had to either beg on the street or die of starvation. Some of the other veterans talked with The Business Standard (TBS) about the challenges if this situation stayed the same for a long time or if the league was suspended.
The situation is very difficult right now. There is nothing to do, everything is suspended for everyone's well-being. The whole world has come to a standstill. If we can stay aware and the situation settles down, then the BDPL should be played. Because we live on what we earn from this tournament. And if this prolongs, the monsoon comes along, there is nothing to do.
Only one round of the BDPL has been played, most of it still remains. According to me, as the tournament has kicked off, it should be finished too.
There are worries. 90 per cent of our cricketers run their families with the money they earn from the BDPL. So, if the BDPL is not completed, then it will be very tough on the cricketers. There are two Eids coming up and everyone has a family, so it will be very tough.
We can n0t even think of the BDPL not happening or being cancelled. Maybe it will resume after a month. This situation will not stay the same, it will come back to normal. Once the situation settles down, the BDPL is likely to go on as the tournament had started. If the situation stays like this it will be very bad for us, we will be in grave danger.
We definitely want the BDPL to return to the field, no doubt. A lot of worries cross through our minds. Because BDPL is our bread and butter. If the situation worsens job-holders will receive half of their salary or at least something. But if cricket does not return, we will die of starvation.
For now, I have some savings to run on. But if it continues to be like this, there will be a crisis. We will be in grave danger then. It would have been a bit better if our first-class salaries were being given, but it has been four months since it stopped. If that continued, then the players would have had a backup, at least the families of the 91 players could run.
A lot of people are dying throughout the world. Life comes first. But if this situation continues, it will be tough for many. Because maximum players plan on living the whole year on the money they earn from the BDPL. This is the first time that most of the clubs have not paid the players, they used to pay 60 to 80 per cent ahead of the league. Four or five clubs might have but most of them did not.
It came to a halt after the first round, there is nothing to say here. Board has suspended it for a month, let's see how long it goes on. We definitely want the BDPL to resume. The matches can even start in May-June. Even though it is the monsoon, still matches can be scheduled at that time. If the situation gets better, I hope that the BDPL will start right from where it left.
Actually, we are waiting. There is nothing to do but wait. And whenever cricket starts, it will start with the BDPL. Even if it starts two or three months later, may it start with the BDPL. Because there is a lot of time before the year ends. Whenever the situation gets better, cricket should resume with the BDPL and the tournament should be finished.
If it stays like this, we will have to fall into challenging times. But life comes first, then profession. Life is greater than sports, if you can save your life, you can do a lot of things. The way the number of coronavirus-infected patients is increasing, I realised that life comes first.
Enamul Haque Jr
To be honest, the BDPL is very important for us. Not talking about the other leagues because not everybody gets the opportunity to play in the BCL or the BPL. From that perspective, the BDPL is very important for us. I hope that whenever cricket resumes, it resumes with the BDPL. Every player wants that.
If the situation stays the same, not only the cricketers but all of Bangladesh's population will be badly affected. This is a global pandemic. Nobody can do anything about it. If the situation continues to be like this, hard times are coming. But whenever cricket resumes, I hope it starts with the BDPL because then we will be able to cover our losses.