On the 28th of January, 2021, the Bangladesh Cricket Board has announced that it will be vaccinating the 500 top cricket players of the country. This can be counted among one of the efforts of the cricketing administration of the country to resume sports amidst the pandemic. Without vaccination, it would be difficult to resume the domestic tournaments of the country.
Therefore, the board has decided to vaccinate the players. The Bangladesh Cricket Board has decided not to resume any cricketing activity without completing the vaccination of all the players.
Cricket in Bangladesh till now
Cricketing activity in the country has been practically suspended from March, save for a few events. Two small domestic events were held last year, including the Bangabandhu T20 Cup 2020-21. Strict norms were observed throughout the events. The players were made to live in bio-bubbles to avoid any COVID-19 related complications.
These arrangements were found to be satisfactory and agreeable by the West Cricket Board; which then agreed to send its team for a tour, which is currently going on. The Bangladesh tour of the West Indies has been the first international series of the Bangladesh cricket team since the beginning of the pandemic in March.
A special team was sent by the West Indies Cricket Board which examined the venues and formalities of the Bangladesh Cricket Board. They agreed to send its players only after receiving satisfactory feedback from its own examination team. While many West Indian players, including Jason Holder, refused to partake in the series citing pandemic-related concerns. One player, leg-spinner Hayden Walsh even tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival and was left out of the series.
The ongoing Bangladesh tour of the West Indies has been particularly beneficial for the home team; which has won the ODI series 3-0. This will be followed by a 2 match test series which the home team will definitely be having an advantage in.
Bangladesh has been very affected by the pandemic and has registered a total of 533,000 cases and more than 8000 deaths. Despite all cricketers being made to live in bio-bubbles and with in-person attendance being banned. The threat of the pandemic has been constant.
In fact, the players have often complained about the bio-bubble plans as they restrict movement. The bio-bubble forbid them from hanging out and spending time with each other. Vaccination, therefore, is of utmost priority. Bangladesh has received a shipment of 7 million vaccine doses from India this week.
Two million of these vaccines have been gifts from the Indian government. The rest of the five million have been purchased from the Serum Institute of India. This has prompted it to launch its vaccination drive and 27 people have already been vaccinated, including a doctor, a military official, a traffic policeman, and a senior bureaucrat working in the health department of the government.
The very first batch of vaccinations were held on Wednesday 27 January 2021; at the Kurmitola General Hospital of the national capital of the country, Dhaka.
30M Vaccine for Bangladesh Citizens
Bangladesh has plans of administering over 30 million doses to its citizens over the next few months. No specific plans of vaccinating the cricketers have been made available yet. The president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, Nazmul Hassan is also the chief executive of Beximco Pharmaceuticals; the company which has been handling the vaccines in Bangladesh. It has currently signed a deal for buying 30 million vaccine doses from India for the Bangladesh government.
Beximco also has decided to sell the vaccines in the open market. Hassan’s involvement with the entire process can smoothen and streamline it. The nation-wide inoculation programme is supposed to start on 7 February 2021.
It is important for cricketers to receive the vaccine because they have to practice, travel, and work in circumstances where social distancing often might not be possible. The pandemic has been tough on everyone; including the sportspersons and it is important for the cricketing administration to keep the health of its players in consideration.
This decision will be an important step towards resuming cricketing activity across the world and restore it to its normalcy. Among the different initiatives undertaken by sports bodies, vaccination plans can be a priority to relieve both the players, and the viewers of the anxiety of the pandemic.
This is yet another step to having packed-up stadiums in matches back in cricket, and we all know how important it is to get the old normal back.