Bangladesh cancel Sri Lanka cricket tour due to coronavirus

Former Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza, above, who remains in the Test squad, tested positive for the coronavirus. (AFP)
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Updated 24 June 2020

Bangladesh cancel Sri Lanka cricket tour due to coronavirus

  • Bangladesh team was due to play three Tests in late July
  • Island nation has reported 11 virus deaths and some 1,998 infections

COLOMBO: Bangladesh have formally called off their Test series in Sri Lanka because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials in Colombo said Wednesday.
The Bangladesh team was due to play three Tests in late July, but the tour was in doubt because of the worrying spread of COVID-19 across South Asia.
The Sri Lankan cricket board said Bangladesh had pulled out due to “the lack of preparation for its players, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Former Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza — who remains in the Test squad — and left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam tested positive for the virus Saturday.
This is the second international engagement to be taken off Sri Lanka’s cricket calendar this month.
India pulled out of a limited-overs series scheduled for late June.
The Sri Lankan cricket team started its second residential training camp in Kandy on Monday to prepare for the Twenty20 world cup in Australia in September.
The island nation has reported 11 virus deaths and some 1,998 infections. It has eased lockdown measures and resumed economic activity.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, has confirmed over 122,660 infections and more than 1,500 deaths from the coronavirus so far. The country restarted economic activities after lifting a months-long virus lockdown at the end of May even as cases continued to rise.


Lin Dan retirement ends era of ‘Chinese sports superstar’

Updated 08 July 2020

Lin Dan retirement ends era of ‘Chinese sports superstar’

  • The era of the superstar that once belonged to Chinese sports has faded

SHANGHAI: The retirement of two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan signals the end of a golden era of Chinese sporting superstars, state media said on Tuesday.

Arguably the greatest badminton player of all time, the 36-year-old said on Saturday that he was bringing the curtain down on a career that also brought five world titles.

NBA All-Star Yao Ming, Olympic gold-medal hurdler Liu Xiang and two-time tennis Grand Slam champion Li Na have all retired in the last decade.

“With the ‘Super Dan’ curtain call, people cannot help but sigh,” Xinhua news agency said.

“The era of the superstar that once belonged to Chinese sports has faded.

“When will the next Lin Dan appear? Or when will the next Yao Ming, Liu Xiang and Li Na appear?

“Where is the next Chinese sports superstar who will create a collective memory for us?”

The quartet were not just world leaders in their sport and popular in China, but also had “considerable influence in the international arena and became a window for the world to understand China,” Xinhua said.

Of prominent Chinese athletes left, women’s volleyball player Zhu Ting has the potential to rise to superstar level, Xinhua said, while disgraced swimmer Sun Yang “enjoys high popularity (in China), but unfortunately he is banned.” 

The 28-year-old is appealing against an 8-year ban for refusing to give a doping sample. The three-time Olympic freestyle champion’s career will effectively be over if he loses his appeal at the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

China has world champions in other sports, and finished third behind the US and Britain in the medal table at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but they are not generally well-known even inside the country, Xinhua said.

Table tennis player Zhang Jike, another three-time Olympic gold medalist, deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Lin, said the Oriental Sports Daily.

But at 32 his best days are behind him and as far back as 2016 he signaled his intention to retire, before having a change of heart.

“When will the next Lin Dan and China’s next sports superstar appear again?” asked the newspaper.

“This question may not be answered in a short space of time.”