BCB hopeful of maiden tour to India this year
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is hopeful of their team visiting India for a maiden full-fledged tour this year, according to board president Mustafa Kamal. Following discussions with the BCCI on the sidelines of recent ICC meetings, Kamal said BCCI president N Srinivasan "has assured me that a tour could be possible by the end of the year".
Kamal was in India to attend a function of the BCB's new sponsors, Sahara, in Lucknow. "We know nothing is on the FTP and Bangladesh have never been on a full tour of India so we are working to have this event materialise," he told ESPNcricinfo. "We'll have to leave it to the Indian side, we can't pressurise them."
India have a busy home season between September 2012 and March 2013, with New Zealand, England and Australia visiting. The only vacant spot on the calendar is a fortnight-long Christmas break, between the England Twenty20s and one-dayers. England will travel home after the Mumbai Twenty20 international on December 22 and return in time for the first ODI in Rajkot on January 11.
However, Pakistan, too, are hoping to fill this gap in the calendar. PCB president Zaka Ashraf had also met with Srinivasan in May, and said that a decision on the resumption of Indo-Pak bilateral ties would most likely be made during the ICC's annual conference in Kuala Lumpur in June. It is around the same time that Kamal is hopeful of getting a final word on Bangladesh's proposed tour.
When asked whether this single opening in India's 2012-13 calendar could prompt a short tri-series, Kamal said Srinivasan had told him "leave it to me, it will be a complete tour".
Rivalry over a tour to India could become another point of friction between Bangladesh and Pakistan following the April pull-out by Bangladesh of what was to be first international tour to Pakistan following the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore. The tour was postponed when a Dhaka High Court order set a three week embargo on the national team's plan.
Kamal, however, said this was not the case. "We have to have a good relationship with Pakistan. Yes, the PCB president was a little upset but I tried to make the tour happen, in all sincerity. Not just as BCB president but as president of the Asian Cricket Council. It was to be a short goodwill visit. We need Pakistan in a big way; for Bangladesh, playing against teams like India and Pakistan will be an opportunity for us to move forward."
He also said that he had sought the approval of other member boards before chalking out plans for the Pakistan tour. "I put the issue of that tour on the agenda of the ICC's executive board meeting. I had talked to each and every board about the tour - I had spoken with the ECB and the BCCI also - and everyone appreciated my move."
Since 1990, Bangladesh have played nine matches in India, all ODIs in multi-lateral series, the last being the Champions Trophy in 2006. India have played 22 matches in Bangladesh against the home team, including seven Tests and 15 ODIs.
Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo