"We have proved that the situation here is good. We have hosted three tournaments successfully. The bio-secure bubble we created was successful. I personally believe that the situation is not so bad that the players have to opt out."
Jason Holder and Kieron Pollard, West Indies skipper for Tests and limited overs, have opted out of their upcoming tour of Bangladesh. The players opting out due to Covid-19 fears and personal reasons include Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen and Shane Dowrich.
West Indies are going to tour Bangladesh with their second-string team to say the least as 12 of the regular members of the side won't be available for the tour. Habibul Bashar, former skipper and currently a selector of the national team, is disappointed to see the opponent's squad.
While speaking to The Business Standard (TBS), Bashar said, "We have proved that the situation here is good. We have hosted three tournaments successfully. The bio-secure bubble we created was successful. I personally believe that the situation is not so bad that the players have to opt out."
Bashar termed the decision of sending such a team 'disappointing' and stated, "Bangladesh has been in a relatively better situation than others since the outbreak of Covid-19. They are citing Covid-19 as the reason of sending such a team. Yes, it is completely their decision what kind of a team they would like to send. But as they are citing Covid-19 as the reason, I would say it is very disappointing."
"England, Australia are hosting series under bio-bubbles. West Indies themselves toured couple of countries. Earlier, they toured New Zealand and England. England were not in a great state at that time. We are following the same protocols as England. I don't find any strong reason for not coming to play here," he added.
But Bashar believes that Bangladesh will play with hundred percent commitment irrespective of how strong or weak the opponents are.
Though Bashar is pretty disappointed, Test skipper Mominul Haque does not feel that way. "Those who play international cricket are good enough players. Our process will remain the same whether they send their strongest team or not," he said.
The series is set to begin on January 20 with the ODIs taking place first. West Indies will arrive in Dhaka on January 10. They will play a warm up one-day match at BKSP on January 18. In couple of days, they will play the first ODI at the Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur. After playing the second ODI in the same venue on January 22, the teams will move to Chattogram and play the third and final ODI at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on the 25th.
West Indies and Bangladesh will face each other in the first of two tests in Chattogram that will begin on February 3. The teams will return to Dhaka after the first Test to play the second Test in Mirpur which will begin on February 11.