New Zealand skip practice match in Bangladesh tour

New Zealand have decided to opt out any practice match in their upcoming Bangladesh tour due to the concern of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Black Caps five-match T20 International series here next month also included a warm-up game in BKSP. Since they will be in bio-bubble, New Zealand don’t want to move much, said the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) CEO Nizam Uddin Chowdhury.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic a separate bio-bubble should be created in BKSP if they want to play the practice game. At the same time, the distance of BKSP from Dhaka is also a cause for concern.

“New Zealand do not want to play a warm-up match. They were scheduled to play a warm-up match against the BCB XI team at BKSP on August 29. But if the match is to be organized, a bio-safety zone will have to be created. They want to avoid extra bio-bubble,” Chowdhury said here today.

Asked if BKSP’s distance from Dhaka was also the reason for the cancellation of the match, he said, “Not at all.” Earlier, the big teams all went and played in BKSP. BKSP facilities have been improved. And there are special benefits for visiting teams. It takes very little time to travel. It’s not an issue. ”

The New Zealand cricket team will arrive in Dhaka on August 24. The first T20 will be held on September 1. The next four matches are on September 3, 5, 8 and 10. All of those five matches will be played at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. It has not been decided when the matches will start. However, it is learnt that the match may start at 4 PM, keeping the New Zealand fans back at home in mind.

Bangladesh had played five T20s in seven days against Australia earlier this month and won the series by 4-1. However, there is a break of one day at the end of every match against New Zealand. There will be five matches in 10 days.

New Zealand is coming to Bangladesh to play a series against Bangladesh after 2013. The two teams have played only one T20 in Bangladesh. In that match held in Mirpur in 2013, Bangladesh lost by 15 runs. New Zealand indeed won all of the 10 T20 Internationals held between the two sides.

But Bangladesh whitewashed New Zealand in a three-match ODI series then. Earlier in 2010, the Tigers won the five-match ODI series by 4-0 and one match was abandoned. It meant, in Bangladesh, New Zealand have been in seven-match losing streak in ODI cricket.

New Zealand first came to Bangladesh in 2004 to play a bilateral series. Then they came in 2008, 2010, 2013. This time Kiwis are coming to Bangladesh after a long time. They will only play in the T20 series just before the World Cup.

The Kiwis will maintain a three-day quarantine in Dhaka upon their arrival after which they will practice for the five-match T20 series. Emboldened by their first bilateral series victory over Australia, Bangladesh however would like to break the defeat jinx against New Zealand in T20 format.