The Bangladesh cricketers have felt the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic which has stopped all cricketing activities in the country since late March 2020. A number of international home and away tours and competitions as well as domestic events have seen postponements and players have been forced to stay home and wait for the situation to become safe for cricket to resume. The National Team cricketers however, have remained busy mainly with individual fitness programmes. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)’s Cricket Operations Department has also arranged regular virtual technical meetings through which players have been interacting with Head Coach Russel Domingo and other National Team coaches. Separate group sessions have already been held with cricketers who were in the Test side in recent times, players who were in white ball cricket, batsmen and pace bowlers.
Bangladesh Test captain Mominul Hoque felt the interactive sessions have been beneficial and uplifting especially in the present circumstances: “We all want to get back to the playing field as soon as possible. For a cricketer nothing can be more frustrating than not being able to train or play. That is why these meetings are really important and helps us stay focused and in touch with cricket.
‘All the players, from seniors to the newest member, are spontaneously participating in the discussions and sharing ideas with the coaches and fellow cricketers. There has been a lot of emphasis put on mental well-being and preparation. Our Test performance has been analysed and we have talked about what we can learn from recent experiences. I believe everyone has a lot of time to themselves now and therefore can think more clearly about their own game and understand what to do and what not to do.”
Young all-rounder Afif Hossain thought the briefing from coaches and senior players were significant in terms of direction: “Experienced campaigners like Mushfiqur Rahim spoke about the responsibility of players and what is expected from the us going forward. The video analysis from our matches have been very helpful also.”
With fitness being the main pre-requisite for a smooth transition to optimum skill levels when cricket returns and acknowledging the fact that access to gyms may not be a feasible option in lockdown or isolation scenarios for all the players, the BCB has made individual gym equipment available for use at home to 38 players of a pool prepared by the National Selectors. Across the country 19 cricketers have already availed this opportunity.