Australia set to tour Bangladesh for five T20Is in August
All five matches will be held at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has confirmed that Australia will arrive in Dhaka on July 29 to play five T20Is against Bangladesh, from August 3 to 9. Australia will comply with local health regulations by being quarantined in their hotel rooms for three days before they begin training at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, where they will play all five matches.
"The BCB and Cricket Australia have worked tirelessly together for confirming the itinerary," BCB's chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said. "Naturally this was a challenge due to the Covid-19 pandemic as ensuring health safety and security is a priority prerequisite for holding any cricket series in these times. I am pleased to say that a comprehensive bio-security plan is in place and will be implemented during the tour for the protection of players and staff of the two teams and the match officials."
BCB and Cricket Australia (CA) have reportedly agreed on extensive pandemic protocols that include a 10-day quarantine, which began earlier this week. Both teams will count their current bio-bubble measures on their respective tours as part of the quarantine. Match officials have already been isolated while the Bangladesh T20I team currently in Zimbabwe will go straight to the team hotel in Dhaka upon arrival. Bangladesh's T20I series against Zimbabwe was also brought forward by a couple of days.
The major protocols for this tour include Australia's immigration process conducted separately after CA expressed reservations about exposing their touring party in a hall room inside the airport. After they go through the VIP entry and into the team bus, their passports will be processed separately.
The team hotel will be completely off-limits to the public during the tour, which is reportedly a tighter plan than the BCB's bio-bubbles for West Indies and Sri Lanka earlier this year. The scheduling of the series has been at the CA's request: to be held at one venue over a short window.
"We would like to thank our friends at the Bangladesh Cricket Board for developing a detailed bio-security plan to keep players, staff and match officials safe," Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said. "Both boards have worked extremely hard to do all we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in the tour.
"We are looking forward to a competitive and entertaining series in Dhaka as both teams continue their preparations for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup later this year."
Bangladesh, in the midst of a second wave of Covid-19, reported 173 deaths on Wednesday, taking the tally to 18,498 since March this year, according to the Directorate General of Health Services. According to the official data, the Covid-19 fatality rate in Bangladesh is now 1.63 percent and the current recovery rate is 84.56 percent. Bangladesh has been on strict lockdown since July 1. Although the government allowed a temporary easing of restrictions from July 15 to 22, the initial lockdown conditions are expected to return to force from July 23 till August 5.
Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood said on Thursday that the team is familiar with the limitations of movement on tours.
"We've had a few meetings about what it's going to look like in Bangladesh and it's obviously going to be quite tight restrictions and within the bubble," Hazlewood said. "I think it's purely going to be either at the hotel or at the cricket ground, which we've done before and we're used to. It's quite a short trip as well, which is good, so I think it'll be no dramas, we'll get that done on the back end of this tour."
This is Australia's first tour to Bangladesh since their 2017 visit to play two Tests in Dhaka and Chattogram. They had cancelled their 2015 and 2016 (Under-19 World Cup) visits due to security concerns.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84