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Coronavirus newsfile: Bangladesh cricketers pool money to help combat crisis

Bangladesh’s premier cricketers have contributed 50% of their monthly salaries to a fund that has been put in place to deal with the COVID-19 situation in the country. All the centrally contracted players and others who played against Zimbabwe this month have pooled in BDT 26 lakh (US$ 32,500 approx.) for the cause.
The country is in lockdown following the death of four people and reports of 44 other being infected. The government has directed around 15,000 people around to country to go into self-isolation, and to ensure that happens, the army has been deployed.
Cricketers have also gone into self-isolation, and the likes of Mashrafe Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan have delivered messages on social media for people to stay at home.
Space at Eden Gardens made available as a medical facility
The indoor training facility and the players’ dormitory at Eden Gardens have been made available to the West Bengal state government as a temporary medical facility to deal with the COVID-19 situation, Sourav Ganguly has said.
“If government asks us, we will certainly hand over the facility. Anything that is need of the hour, we will do it. There is absolutely no problem,” BCCI president Ganguly, who was the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal earlier, was quoted as saying by PTI.
Similarly, the Cricket Association of Pondicherry has offered the dormitory at its Tutipet campus as an isolation facility for COVID-19 patients.
“We stopped cricketing activities due to outbreak of coronavirus. We can offer these facilities to house up to 30 infected patients if need be with necessary medical tie-up through Laxmi Medical College,” a letter from the association to the governor of the union territory of Puducherry said.
ECB offers customised home-training packages to premier cricketers
With no cricket likely in the immediate future, the ECB has offered customised home-training packages to Joe Root and Heather Knight’s teams to help them stay in shape. The packages include equipment such as ropes, resistance bands, a medicine ball and a kettle ball.
“I’m an active person anyway, with my young son keeping me busy, but having a structured plan will help me improve in certain areas,” Root was quoted as saying by AFP. “While it has been good to get some downtime after our return from Sri Lanka, keeping my fitness up is really important so I can be at the top of my game when we get back on the field.”
Knight said it was not ideal but one had to find ways to stay in shape.
“We’ll all just be doing what we can to maintain our levels and, hopefully, be as ready as we can when we get back playing, whenever that comes,” Knight said. “It’s obviously not ideal, but it’s a great way of trying to stay in shape and keep ticking over.”
CWI extends suspension of all domestic cricket
Cricket West Indies (CWI) has called off all its domestic tournaments this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, after earlier suspending all cricket until mid-April. The board, following a teleconference of the board of directors on Tuesday afternoon, cancelled the last two rounds of matches of its first-class competition and announced Barbados as the winners.
Barbados were leading the points table of the four-day competition with a tally of 134.8, followed by Trinidad and Tobago (94.6), Guyana (91.8), Jamaica (91.8), Windward Islands (78) and Leeward Islands (52.8).
In a statement, the board said it was acting on the guidelines of its medical advisory committee. The other tournaments and camps to be immediately affected were the Women’s Super50 Cup (postponed to later this year), Regional Under-19s Women’s T20 Championship (postponed to later this year), Regional Under-15s Boys Championship (cancelled for 2020), West Indies Under-15s Tour to England in the summer (cancelled for 2020), high performance and international preparation training camps (cancelled until at least May 31, 2020).
“All around the sporting world we are faced with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Johnny Grave, CEO of CWI said. “Cricket, cricketers and all our stakeholders involved in the game have been affected at various levels and we must continue to work to together and act responsibly in containing the spread of the virus.
“Ten days ago, we suspended our tournaments and camps for 30 days and now we have extended that suspension until the end of May as well as reluctantly cancelled some tournaments and tours in their entirety. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation and make further decisions and announcements in due course.”
Grave also said that CWI has put systems in place to make sure its staff follow the necessary protocols as outlined by its medical advisory committee and the World Health Organisation. The board also reinforced the importance for all territorial boards and local cricket associations to follow the advice of their respective ministries of health.
Kent have become the first county to take steps to offset the financial implications of the delayed English season by announcing that their executive directors have voluntarily accepted a short-term pay cut of 20%.
With the UK entering a phase of enforced lockdown in an attempt to contain the coronavirus outbreak, and little prospect of any cricket taking place before June at the earliest, counties have begun to assess their day-to-day running. Kent have assembled a COVID-19 taskforce and are in talks with the local council to discuss terms of a loan repayment, among other measures.
The club’s executive directors – including chief executive Simon Storey and director of cricket Paul Downton – offered to take a pay cut in order to send a positive message. “We feel these are exceptional circumstances,” Storey told ESPNcricinfo. “We will find a way through this for Kent.”
With many counties leading a precarious financial existence, there have been warnings that a drastically reduced 2020 season could threaten the viability of some. However, the question of players also taking a cut in pay is a step that would likely need to be agreed with the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the ECB.
PCB turns Karachi training facility into lodging area for paramedics
The Pakistan Cricket Board has offered the use of their high performance centre in Karachi to paramedics working at the Expo Centre which has become a makeshift hospital.
PCB Chief Operating Officer Salman Naseer said: “All the paramedic staff are our heroes as in these challenging and difficult times, they are risking their lives to save the lives and well-being of many affected by COVID-19.
“As a small token of our appreciation and acknowledgement to these unsung heroes and as part of our duty of care, the PCB is pleased to offer its state-of-the-art Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre as a temporary lodging and boarding for the paramedic staff working at Expo Centre hospital so that they can serve those suffering from COVID-19 more effectively and efficiently.”
No discussion about moving CPL 2020
The global cricket schedule – as with most other things around the world – has been thrown out of gear by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) organisers are hoping to get the competition going on schedule in August-September this year.
“CPL has been in constant communication with our medical advisors in recent weeks, as well as speaking with Cricket West Indies about the current situation with regard to cricket around the world, and at present there has been no discussion about moving the event,” a CPL statement said. “CPL believes it is too early to make such a decision, but this is an evolving situation and we are carefully watching how events unfold in the Caribbean and around the world.”
That said, they are also discussing contingency plans for the event, slotted for August 19 to September 26: “At present the CPL team are planning for the tournament to take place as scheduled whilst also looking at alternative plans should they be needed.”
ICC shuts headquarters, to ‘convene remotely’ to discuss urgent matters
The International Cricket Council has shut down its headquarters in Dubai and moved to a work-from-home policy from this week in response to growing concerns around the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic.
The governing body of the game, led by chairman Shashank Manohar and chief executive Manu Sawhney, is preparing for a video conference on Friday to address urgent board matters around the way the cricket calendar is being impacted by the pandemic, which has already delayed the start of the IPL and also severely affected the outlook for the coming English season in particular. The men’s edition of the T20 World Cup is scheduled to be played in Australia in October and November, placing it hard up against a raft of measures the Australian government has indicated will need to be in place for at least six months.
“In light of the continued global spread of COVID-19, concerns expressed by Members and mindful of the importance of taking mitigating measures against the virus, the ICC Board, has decided to hold its meetings scheduled for Dubai at the end of March via conference call only,” the ICC said in a statement on March 12. “The Board and a number of committees will convene remotely to consider matters for urgent decision only, with the full meetings rescheduled for early May.
“This will be kept under constant review in line with advice from relevant authorities as the health and well-being of staff and those attending the meetings remains our priority.”
We need to think about others, not just ourselves – Usman Khawaja
Australian batsman Usman Khawaja on Saturday spoke bluntly on social media about the need for society as a whole to put others first in their consideration of how to handle COVID-19, which has spread virulently across the globe.
“Just because the mortality rates for Covid-19 for many isn’t high, doesn’t mean you should have a blasé attitude. It’s our responsibility as a society to think about the elderly and the social and economical cost this will have on so many lives. We all need to do our part,” he wrote on Twitter. “The more seriously we take it, then hopefully, the quicker we can get through it and the less amount of lives that are affected both medically and financially. We need to think about others, not just ourselves.”
Similarly, Test captain Tim Paine had spoken about Cricket Australia’s decision to bring an early end to the home season, awarding the Sheffield Shield to New South Wales and advising against the conclusion of community competitions – though stopping short of an outright ban.
“There’s no doubt this has been a big week for our cricket community, a really big time for Australians,” Paine said. “Some decisions have been made in the best interest of our country, and its most vulnerable people. Those decisions were certainly not made lightly and have been made on the best possible advice from our government and from health experts.
“I hope we are all back playing the game we love and going about our lives the way we want to as soon as possible, but in the meantime, please take of yourselves, take care of others and ride this out together.”
Cricket Association of Bengal insures players, officials
The Cricket Association of Bengal has made changes to its insurance policy to cover Bengal players and match officials against the threat of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
“A couple of days ago, our president Mr Avishek Dalmiya initiated this,” CAB vice-president Naresh Ojha told ESPNcricinfo. “The policy covers all our players and umpires.”
SLC to grant LKR 25 million to government
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided to grant LKR 25 million to the government to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Monday noon, Sri Lanka had approximately 85 active COVID-19 cases in the country. All domestic cricket in Sri Lanka has been suspended to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus.
Kumar Sangakkara in self-isolation after Colombo return
Kumar Sangakkara has confirmed he is currently in self-quarantine in Colombo, as per the Sri Lanka government’s guidelines for those who have recently returned from Europe.
He made the revelation amids substantial concerns that those who have recently returned to the island have not been checking in with the police and maintaining proper isolation. In fact, the government even confirmed there have been at least three cases of recent returnees attempting to hide COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) symptoms from authorities, with one of those returnees going as far as to expose medical staff – among others – in a local hospital.
“I have no symptoms or anything like that, but I’m following government guidelines,” Sangakkara told News First on Sunday. “I arrived from London over a week ago and the first thing was there was a news bulletin saying that anyone who had traveled from within March 1 to 15 should register themselves with the police and undergo self quarantine. I registered myself with the police.”
Both Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have been active on Twitter and Instagram, urging Sri Lankans to avoid panic and to exercise proper social distancing, as the country went into curfew on Friday evening. Several present cricketers have also emphasised the need for social distancing on their own social-media accounts.
As of Sunday afternoon, Sri Lanka had 78 active COVID-19 cases in the country. There are fears, however, that that number could shoot up rapidly, as there had been potential mass-infection events over the past 10 days. This includes the “Big Match” cricket encounter between St. Thomas’ College and Royal College last weekend, which attracted tens of thousands of spectators over three days, one of whom has since been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.
Jason Gillespie goes into two-week isolation
Jason Gillespie, the former Australia fast bowler who’s now the head coach at Sussex, has returned home and gone into two weeks of self-isolation. Gillespie had been in Cape Town with the Sussex team for a pre-season tour, which was cut short as a result of the coronavirus pandemic