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BCB postpones NCL due to rising Covid-19 cases

Bangladesh Cricket Board, on Thursday (April 1), postponed the ongoing National Cricket League, country’s traditional first-class tournament, due to rising Covid-19 cases.

The Sri Lanka-bound Test squad was also asked to skip the third round of the first-class competition. Incidentally, following Bangladesh’s embarrassing 2-0 defeat to West Indies at home, the board had made it mandatory for all Test probables to take part in the NCL. According to a press release issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), 59 Covid-19-related fatalities were reported during the last 24 hours in Bangladesh, which turns out to be the highest number of deaths recorded in a day in the country in more than nine months.

”We had to postpone the tournament (NCL) for the time being as a precautionary step, and we want to see where we stand after a couple of days. There was a gap between the second and third round… we just prolonged that gap,” Nizamuddin Chowdhury, BCB chief executive, told Cricbuzz.

Another BCB official said that they had to postpone the tournament altogether after the government ordered that movement will be restricted in Cox’s Bazar, the country’s biggest tourist hub. After hosting the opening two rounds of the tournament at different venues, BCB had decided to host the third round of NCL at two venues – Cox’s Bazaar and BKSP – in a bio-bubble environment. ”There is movement restriction in Cox’s Bazaar. We will at least need two venues to complete the tournament, considering it is a two-tier tournament, so getting only BKSP won’t be enough for the tournament to progress.”

However, Nizamuddin noted that the board is confident of hosting the five-match one-day series between Bangladesh Emerging women’s team and their South African counterparts. “Tourists arrived in Bangladesh on March 28, and after successfully completing three-day hotel quarantine and passing the corona test on two occasions (March 28 and March 31), began their preparation at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium from Thursday. We are confident of hosting the series as per schedule and they are playing the series in a closed environment maintaining all the bio-bubble protocols,” he said.

The one-day games will be held on April 4, 6, 8, 11 and 13 while the visitors will depart for South Africa on April 14.

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