October 31, 2020, 4:44 pm

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Mashrafe, Shakib set to return cricket ground together

Sports Desk: Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Shakib Al Hasan, the two iconic cricketers of Bangladesh are set to return to cricket together if everything goes well.

Both will make a comeback with the Corporate T20 League, which the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) will organize in mid November. The BCB president Nazmul Hassan Papon confirmed their availability in the newly inducted tournament, which is a part of the cricket apex body’s initiative to resume the normal cricketing activities after it has been disrupted since March this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shakib Al Hasan who is now serving a ban imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) due to his failure to report corrupt approaches will be free to play from October 29. Therefore there will be no problem for the ace all-rounder to play the Corporate League.

Mashrafe stepped down as captain with the Zimbabwe series in March before the country went under lockdown due to the outbreak of Covid-19. He earlier said he will continue to play cricket even if he steps down as captain. He was also scheduled to play the three-team 50-over cricket tournament that BCB is going to start from October 11 but due to the lack of practice he couldn’t take part in this. While the cricketers have been practicing at the Mirpur Stadium since last July, Mashrafe was unable to do as he suffered from the deadly coronavirus. After a month and a half of fighting, he recovered.

“Due to the lack of practice and fitness, Mashrafe can’t be the part of the 50-over tournament but he will play the Corporate T20 league,” Papon said yesterday.

“It is not the case that Mashrafe did not want to play in the three-team tournament but he suddenly heard about the tournament. Mashrafe will definitely play in the next tournament.”

As part of his initiative to return to the cricket ground, Mashrafe will start fitness training in Mirpur with the permission of BCB.

Shakib’s return however will be smooth as he practiced some days at BKSP to prepare himself for the tour of Sri Lanka. But he had to return to the USA after the tour was postponed due to the indifference between the Bangladesh and Sri Lanka Cricket over quarantine period issues.

Nazmul Hasan Papon said, “Shakib has no problem to play in the corporate tournament in November. He will return to the country before the tournament.”

Meanwhile, chief selector Minhazul Abedin Nannu said: “Mashrafe and Shakib are getting ready to return to the field. Both will return to the ground with the Corporate T20 League. corporate tournament. We are preparing in the same way.”

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