Sri Lanka in Bangladesh 2013-14 January 15, 2014

SLC effectively rules out Sylhet as venue for Bangladesh series

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sri Lanka Cricket have effectively ruled out Sylhet as a venue for their series in Bangladesh, with board vice-president Mohan de Silva saying Sylhet was not on his security committee's schedule. De Silva said the travel involved for the teams if Sylhet was a venue would be a security issue.

The tour - scheduled to start later this month - has been the subject of much speculation because of the prevailing political instability in Bangladesh and the incidents of violence in recent weeks. Sri Lanka are known to be in favour of a compact schedule and dropping Sylhet from the itinerary could be the best way to ensure the tour goes ahead.

SLC's security committee, which includes de Silva, is currently inspecting the venues and security arrangements in Bangladesh, and the tour will be confirmed only once the committee has okayed it.

SLC had previously said their final decision on the tour would be announced on January 15, but have now said they will only firm up their stance during the weekend at the earliest. "We are waiting on the report of the security people who have gone there," SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said. "They get back on the 18th, so when they get back we can give a confirmed decision. So far we don't see a problem, but the report will tell us if there are any areas we need to look at and get sorted out."

If Sylhet is dropped as a venue, the Mirpur stadium would host the three-match ODI series, as well as the first Test from January 27. Chittagong would host the second Test and the two Twenty20s. "We were considering the time duration from hotel to venue," de Silva said. "At this time, we just think that instead of playing just one or two games in one venue, if we can confine ourselves to venues where within the shortest period of time the team can get from the hotel to the venue, that is advisable for us."

De Silva said that the tour had been discussed at the highest levels of government in the two countries. Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa is "very keen" that Sri Lanka go ahead with the tour, he said, while Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina has already told the Sri Lankan high commissioner in Dhaka that all adequate security measures would be taken.

"We as a country, including his excellency the president [Mahinda Rajapaksa] is very keen that Sri Lanka tours Bangladesh. But at the same time, we have had some traumatic experiences in other countries. Therefore the security of the players is of paramount importance to us.

"Because of the political unrest that has been there in Bangladesh in recent times, our cricket board has sent a security team to assess and ascertain the correct ground situation. We have also been in constant touch with the Sri Lankan high commissioner in Dhaka. He has also been assured by your prime minister [Sheikh Hasina] that the fullest security will be provided for us."

He said he was happy with the security plan drawn up by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, having met the commissioner on Wednesday. "We were in Chittagong on Monday where we met the police commissioner there. Today we had a very successful discussion with Dhaka's police commissioner. We were quite satisfied, impressed with the security plan he has provided. We also had a few concerns which we brought to their notice.

"Therefore, we are quite happy. But we have to go back and report to our executive committee and they will take the final decision."

Meanwhile, Dhaka's police commissioner Benazir Ahmed has said that the security situation in the capital and the rest of the country has improved, which should assuage the visitors. "The security situation in Dhaka and across the country has certainly been good," Ahmed said. "We believe that we can give full-proof security to our guests."

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  • ESPN on January 17, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    Would love to visit the next time England play a Test series in Bangladesh. A lot of Barmy Army say it their favourite tour.

  • hasa on January 16, 2014, 2:11 GMT

    As a srilankan i'm very happy to see SLC committee to this series. It's good one. We have to play really well to beat Bangladesh specially in their home yard. They improve lot last 2-3 years. congrats to both the teams. :)

  • A on January 15, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    We are big fans of Sri Lankan Cricket and Sri Lankan Cricketers. And we Love cricket, everyone in the country is supporting this and the safety of the players are off the highest of priorities! Thus am very happy and admire Sri Lankan even more for thier trust and support for BD cricket. Looking forward to competitive matches! Angelo and his team are improving and getting better every day, the only thing that worries me is the intense competition my team is coming up against!!

  • Android on January 15, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    Sylhet will host international sooner than later hope so

  • Anik on January 15, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    Sylhet Stadium is going to be one of the most beautiful stadium in the cricketing world... waiting for the perfect time to host an int'l cricket match.. :-)

  • Prashan on January 15, 2014, 10:56 GMT

    @tatactg, many thanks for the update on the ground situation.

  • mano on January 15, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    What ever decision the board makes, dont forget the nightmare of Lahore. Our cricketers are not to be kicked around for some political reasons and to please any politician.

  • reazul on January 15, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    Last 5 days has been quite good , things have improved noticeably - there is no general strike & the situation returning back to normal state.Hope it stays the same for the next 3 months at least for cricket's sake.

  • Siddiky on January 15, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    I think it will be better for our cricket if we could introduce Sylhet as venue for international cricket immediately. we have seen people has come out in numbers and enjoyed cricket while national level players were there.

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