Doubts may be looming over the future of the much-anticipated Australia’s tour of Bangladesh next month due to the ongoing pay dispute between Cricket Australia and its players, but the Bangladesh cricket fraternity to remain positive for in their preparation for this high-profile series.
Following a lot of dilemma over the security issue, Cricket Australia has finally committed to send their team to Bangladesh for a two-match Test series, to be played in August-September. As per the current schedule, the Australian squad is expected to arrive in the country on August 18 and play a two-day tour match at Fatullah from August 22. The first Test is to be hosted at the same venue from August 27, whereas the second and final game will be played in Chittagong from September 4.
However, the cloud of uncertainty regarding this series has started to hover, since the day Australia ‘A’ players chose to boycott their pre-scheduled tour of South Africa, earlier this month. The players were not satisfied with the efforts of Cricket Australia to resolve the current crisis.
The termination of the previous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on June 30 and the failure of negotiations between the board and the Australian Cricketers’ Association to agree on the next one has seen around 200 professional men’s and women’s cricketers fall out of contract and thus become unemployed.
Meanwhile, the positive development of the story is that some of the members within Cricket Australia are confident of things coming back on track within the next few weeks. In a media appearance in Melbourne on Tuesday, former captain and current member of the board expressed his optimism on this issue. He feels, in addition to the Ashes series later this year, Australia’s scheduled tour to Bangladesh will go ahead as planned.
“We’ve got to get together, we’ve got to sort this out and hopefully sooner rather than later,” said Taylor. “But I’m very confident we’ll have a side for the Ashes, and I’m also very confident we’ll have a side to go to Bangladesh which is only in a month’s time.
“There’s obviously been a lot of conjecture and speculation about what’s going on. There is stuff going on behind the scenes, there are discussions. Obviously, the stuff that people are reading and hearing is not great for the game. Not good for Cricket Australia, not great for the ACA [Australia Cricketers Association] either.
“There are ongoing discussions and that’s about all I’m going to say, I don’t think people here need to know more than that.
“I think there’s got to be a compromise on both sides, I really believe that. I think at any negotiation you give and take. When you get to that situation, which I hope we are getting very close to now, then you get close to a resolution. I’m confident there will be a resolution soon. I don’t know when but I just hope both sides keep working hard at it,” he added further.
Earlier this week, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury also expressed his confidence of the series taking place.
“We are hopeful that the series will go on as per the planned schedule and we are preparing accordingly. Australia is scheduled to tour Bangladesh in middle of August and there is still some time. It’s too early to make any comment. BCB is very hopeful about the series and expects a pre-inspection team from Australia to visit Bangladesh any time this month to observe the facilities, infrastructure and relevant matters,” he told Cricbuzz.
A few Test probables like skipper Mushfiqur Rahim, Mustafizur Rahman, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Imrul Kayes, Mehedi Hasan Miraz and others have started their training from Monday with a fitness camp under the supervision of trainer Mario Villavarayan at Mirpur. Head coach Chandika Hathurusinghe will reportedly arrive in Dhaka on July 28 while pace bowling coach Courtney Walsh is expected to arrange a pace bowling camp from July 17.
At this point of time, the on and off the field importance of the Australia series will be immense for Bangladesh cricket and with the board and cricketers are going ahead with the preparations as per the original schedule, it can be decoded only as a positive sign.