Ireland Wolves to cut one T20 on Bangladesh tour and fly back early
Decision made due to return flights needing to be rerouted after UAE was classed as a 'red list' country
Ireland Wolves' tour of Bangladesh has been reduced by three days, with the second T20 match that was scheduled being cancelled on account of Covid-19 related restrictions in Ireland about their transit country on the flight back home.
The Wolves have already played one unofficial Test and four unofficial one-dayers against the Bangladesh Emerging Team. They will play the fifth and final ODI in Dhaka on Sunday, and a solitary T20 match on March 16, following which the Wolves will fly back home.
Cricket Ireland said in a statement that both boards had agreed to the change in the itinerary, which originally had two T20 matches scheduled for March 17 and 18. The change was brought about because the team will have to reroute their return flight that was originally transiting through the UAE, and fly back home via a different country. With the UAE being a Category 2 'red list' country as per Ireland, even transiting through would force the squad into a two-week hotel quarantine.
Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland's High Performance director, said the Irish authorities had intimated the board of the quarantine regulations,.
"While unfortunate that we will be sacrificing one T20, Irish authorities have advised that extensions of quarantining regulations for in-bound passengers to Ireland flying through Category 2 'red list' countries mean a compulsory 14-day hotel quarantine," Holdsworth said. "As our route home was via the UAE, that would mean our squad would be caught up under these regulations - regardless of whether we were stopping over or simply transiting through - so we have had to re-route the players home via another country not on the red-list.
"We have always said that the mental and physical health and welfare of our squads are our first priority, so avoiding a 14-day hotel quarantine was essential. Given the rigorous bubble conditions these players have already abided by over the last four weeks, the fact that some of the squad would have experienced similar bio-bubbles in the UAE not so long ago, and the possibility that countries could be added to the red-list at any time, we considered the sacrifice of one T20 a reasonable compromise in order to get the squad home as quickly as possible, via a non-category 2 country."
"We have always said that the mental and physical health and welfare of our squads are our first priority, so avoiding a 14-day hotel quarantine was essential."
Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland
Last month, the Pakistan women's tour of Zimbabwe was cut short after its carrier, Emirates, announced it was suspending the Harare-Dubai route. The Wolves' tour of Bangladesh has already had the first one-dayer called off after Ruhan Pretorius was found Covid positive during the game in Chattogram. He was found to be negative within two days, after which the third game was delayed by two hours when one of Ireland's local support staff was found Covid positive.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84