Only one player is allowed to train inside the stadium at a time, with just one trainer with him, both maintaining fair distance. Separate seats, water bottles and toilets for them. No groundsmen or board official allowed inside the ground. A second player can only enter the ground once the first player is done training.
These are the new rules to be followed at the usually buzzing Shere Bangla National Stadium as the BCB opened up its facilities on Sunday, for the first time since March. The same regulations are to be followed at the other facilities in Sylhet, Khulna and Chattogram.
Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shafiul Islam trained in Dhaka while fast bowler Khaled Ahmed and left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed did so in Sylhet. In Khulna, it was Nurul Hasan and Mahedi Hasan, while the rain didn't allow Nayeem Hasan to train in Chattogram. Imrul Kayes will also train in Dhaka on Monday. These nine cricketers volunteered to train. Rahim had also trained at another ground on the outskirts of Dhaka last week.
The BCB is following other usual protocols. Players and trainers had their temperatures measured, and hand sanitisers and sprays are readily available. When Rahim and Mithun batted in the indoor nets against the bowling machine, they didn't pick up the balls. The person feeding the ball into the bowling machine collected all the balls once a round was finished. Once training was over, the player left the ground and only after half an hour did a second player enter the stadium.
Akram Khan, the BCB's cricket operations chairman, said that they have had requests from players to resume training from May, but the board discouraged any outside training due to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in Bangladesh.
"We have had requests from players to train since before last Eid [in May], but we didn't encourage them," Akram said. "The situation wasn't good, and neither is it okay now. But we have had the ground and training facilities ready since May, so we decided to open them for players this time. As long as the pandemic situation remains the same, this is how the training will be arranged. Obviously if it improves, we will be back to full training immediately."
Khan also said that the board has no issues with the cricketers who have decided to stay home. "We are okay with them staying at home. If any of them want to join the training, we will arrange a schedule for them," he said.
Most Bangladesh cricketers have been doing some sort of physical training at home. Last month the BCB sent training equipment to most of the centrally contracted cricketers. Wicketkeeper Nurul has put together a pitch in front of his house, while Khaled has been running almost daily during the pandemic.
On Sunday, the cricketers either did sprints, in some cases 20 each of 100m, while others ran for about 40 minutes for a distance of 4.5km. The current schedule is applicable for a week before players go for the Eid-al-Azha break.
Bangladesh have had several series postponed due to the pandemic, including a three-match Test series in Sri Lanka which was scheduled for July. The two-Test series against New Zealand at home, supposed to be held in August, has also been postponed, as is the Asia Cup. With the T20 World Cup also in doubt, the BCB's next biggest revenue source in 2020 remains the Bangladesh Premier League, scheduled for the end of the year.
The board is currently looking at the possibility of resuming the Dhaka Premier League, the domestic one-day competition, in September, as hundreds of non-contracted cricketers are struggling financially.