BCB to enforce strict bio-bubble measures for Australia's visit

Security personnel scan the ground AFP

The Australian men's team will have heightened bio-bubble measures on their tour to Bangladesh next month. The visitors are likely to touch down on July 29 to play five T20Is against Bangladesh in early August, with all matches being held in Dhaka as per the agreement between the two boards.

The measures will start as soon as the Australians land at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka. As Cricket Australia (CA) informed the BCB that they didn't want the players to be in a hallroom inside the airport, the traveling party will have their passports processed separately, and they will not be facing the immigration authorities,.

"The proper procedure of immigration and passport control will take place in the airport by following Covid-19 compliance measures," Jalal Yunus, the BCB media committee chairman, said. "Maybe this would include their passport being processed separately, but it is what is usually done. They informed us that they don't want to enter a hallroom for the immigration. The passports will be returned to them following the immigration formalities."

There will also be tighter protocols in the hotel where both teams will be staying. The BCB is using the Pan Pacific Sonargaon in midtown Dhaka, where both West Indies and Sri Lanka stayed during their tours this year.

"It is the same bio-bubble that we had for West Indies and Sri Lanka," Yunus said. "(CA) asked us to address certain pockets in the hotel where outsiders were allowed, like some of the restaurants. Those will be closed during the course of the Australia tour."

The BCB is also complying with the CA's request to keep all five T20Is at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.

The BCB has created bio-bubbles of varying sizes, since competitive cricket resumed in Bangladesh in October 2020. After seeing how Bangladesh hosted their two domestic tournaments, West Indies were impressed with their bio-bubble measures. The two tours, by West Indies and Sri Lanka, were held in Dhaka and Chattogram.

Sri Lanka, who came in May, had a bit of a scare ahead of the first ODI against Bangladesh but out of the three positive cases, two turned out to be false with only one player being diagnosed with Covid-19.

The BCB is currently holding the Dhaka Premier League T20s with a bio-bubble for all 12 teams and match officials staying in three separate hotels. The tournament hasn't had too many issues, with only a few days remaining for its conclusion.

Australia meanwhile will be traveling to Dhaka directly from the West Indies after their white-ball tour. This will be Australia's first visit to Bangladesh since their 2017 tour to play two Tests.