SLC secretary expresses satisfaction in BCB security plan
Sri Lanka Cricket has effectively confirmed the tour of Bangladesh will go ahead as scheduled, after secretary Nishantha Ranatunga expressed satisfaction in the security plans prepared for the team's four-week tour. The board had dispatched a two-man security delegation to Bangladesh in the past week , and had found nothing in their consequent report to suggest the tour should be changed.
"From the report that we received, we feel it's safe for our players to go," Ranatunga said. "We had never taken a decision not to go there. We're happy with the way they have presented the security plans, and the commitments they have given."
SLC's executive committee must still provide official confirmation the tour is going ahead, but Ranatunga said the final decision is only a formality, unless the security situation in Bangladesh changes drastically over the following days. The confirmation is due on the January 23, fewer than 24 hours before the team's scheduled departure, the details of which were confirmed via an official release on Monday.
Ranatunga also confirmed the match scheduled for the northeastern town of Sylhet would be relocated, in order to minimise risk for the players. "We asked that that match be moved because it involved too much travelling for the players. We are happy for it to be played at either of the other venues."
SLC had maintained its commitment to the tour throughout the political upheaval in Bangladesh, although it withheld final confirmation as it monitored the developing situation. The security delegation's visit functioned as a final check, as it examined security proposals in Dhaka and Chittangong.
"In Asia, we have a situation currently where we can't tour Pakistan. Even though a tournament could be moved, in the long-term it is better for us that the region remains strong. Bangladesh has a cricket-loving public and it's important that cricket is played there, if possible," Ranatunga had said.
The tour will comprise two Tests, three ODIs and two Twenty20s, after which the Sri Lanka team will remain in Bangladesh for the Asia Cup which, at this stage, is also set to be played as scheduled. Smooth progress of both the bilateral series and Asia Cup are important for the BCB, as an incident-free seven weeks will diminish the possibility of the World Twenty20 being relocated.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here