New Zealand’s Test tour of Bangladesh was on Tuesday postponed due to the health threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as three cricketers from the South Asian country recently tested positive for the virus.
New Zealand were slated to play a two-Test series in Bangladesh in August-September as part of the ICC World Test Championship. Bangladesh has so far reported more than one lakh coronavirus cases with over 1,500 deaths.
Last week, former ODI captain Mashrafe Mortaza, Nazmul Islam and Nafees Iqbal also tested positive for the deadly contagion. “In the present COVID-19 pandemic scenario, hosting a full cricket series in August 2020 will be a challenge in terms of preparations and we cannot take chances with the safety and health of players, support staff and related stakeholders,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury as saying.
“Under these circumstances, BCB and NZC have felt that the best way forward would be to defer the series. We realise that this will be hugely disappointing for the players and officials of both teams, not to mention the fans of the two nations but I must thank NZC for its understanding and for recognising the rationale behind such a decision,” he added.
The governing bodies from both countries are working on new dates for the series, the BCB said. The BCB has already postponed its Test tour of Pakistan in April apart from the Ireland and UK tour in May. Australia’s tour of Bangladesh, originally scheduled for June, has also been deferred, owing to the pandemic. Their tour to Sri Lanka, scheduled for July-August, is also shrouded in uncertainty. New Zealand have also postponed their tour of Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland and West Indies.