Bangladesh news January 8, 2014

BCB acts to calm Sri Lanka safety doubts

Mohammad Isam and Andrew Fidel Fernando

The Bangladesh Cricket Board could make several concessions, including changing venues, to ensure Sri Lanka's tour of the country goes ahead as scheduled later this month despite security concerns. Senior officials of the two boards are due to meet on the sidelines of the ICC executive board meeting in Dubai on January 9, and one of the proposals that could be made by Bangladesh is to stage all the matches in Dhaka.

Sources within the BCB suggest the board has spoken to security agencies in the country and the idea of a single-venue series - though the least favoured option - has been discussed at top levels. While it is possible to stage all the matches in Dhaka, the BCB is aware of the message that will send out and its acting CEO, Nizamuddin Chowdhury, has officially denied such a proposal exists.

The security situation in Bangladesh, the fallout of prolonged political instability, has been the subject of intense discussion in the cricket world with two multi-nation tournaments - the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20 - and the bilateral series with Sri Lanka scheduled to be staged in the country over the next three-odd months. While the Asia Cup has been cleared to be staged there in February-March, the World Twenty20 and the Sri Lanka series may yet see changes.

Though Sri Lanka Cricket has denied making any sort of requests based on safety issues, it will send a security team to Dhaka on January 13. There is also talk of dropping Sylhet as a venue as it would entail more traveling for the two sides for a single ODI in the northeastern town. But the BCB are eager to keep all three venues if possible, to give a brighter picture of the security situation across the country.

They now has more time to convince the tourists. SLC had previously said it would make a decision on the tour during the ICC meeting in Dubai but has since said it will send a two-man committee to Bangladesh to assess the situation on the ground. Former SLC CEO Ajit Jayasekara - an Air Commodore with the Sri Lanka Air Force - and vice-president Mohan de Silva will leave for Bangladesh on Monday, incumbent CEO Ashley de Silva said.

"We haven't sent any requests to [the BCB], but we are sending our former CEO and vice-president to Bangladesh on Monday to assess the current situation," de Silva said. "Once that has been assessed we will make a decision about whether we need to change the itinerary.

"We have to make the final decision before January 15 because the team is supposed to go on January 24. I'm not sure if it will be discussed at the ICC meeting on the January 9, but basically that's where we stand right now."

SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga had earlier said Sri Lanka would seek to honour its commitment to the tour if possible, because Bangladesh had been among the teams eager to tour Sri Lanka during its own conflict. The board is unlikely to take security threats lightly however, given the Sri Lanka team were victims of a terrorist attack in Lahore, in 2009.

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  • Farhan on January 9, 2014, 11:50 GMT

    I can understand why SL fan are worried. What happened to the SL team before must have scared him but im sure they'll be fine here. I wanna see BCB giving SL team the best security and Bangladesh fan should ensure that they gets a warm welcome in our country

  • Dummy4 on January 9, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Just to let all cricket fan know, Bangladesh in generally not a terrorist county, bd having political crisis , its nothing to do with cricket, bd will ensure Sri Lanka got full protection ....

  • Muhammad Rakibul on January 9, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    Staging all matches in Dhaka won't b a solution. All 3 cities- Dhaka, Chittagong & Sylhet r not only venues for SL tour but for WT20. So BCB & SLC should request govt. of BD to ensure tight security in these cities. Also, we should understand the situation in BD. The clashes were mostly in between 2 political groups & no foreigner has been targeted or declared to b targeted yet. Another matter is that most of the violence has occurred in remote areas of western part of the BD. The 3 host cities r not in that region & seems safe after the deployment of Army in December on the occasion of BD election. Now BCB can request govt. to extend the military deployment until the end of WT20 in these 3 cities. No question of security will b raised then.

  • Shafin on January 9, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    The situation in BD is totally different compared to PAK. The political unrest in BD due to election has calmed down as the election is now over. Cricket was never been under any threat from any political unrest in the past as well. Cricket is safe in BD and so are the cricketers. For example, amid political unrest few weeks ago, at least 8 matches were jam packed with spectators in Sylhet.The tour should go on and SL has indeed a lot to gain from this tour as ASIA cup and WC T20 will be held in BD soon after. BD just drew Test and ODI series with SL in SL in 2013. So the series will be an exciting one between these two sides! Look forward to see the series live in the Dhaka Stadium! PS: To SL fans, we BD fans can assure you SL cricketers will be totally safe in BD. I am sure BD Govt will take all measures to ensure their safety.

  • Prbath on January 9, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    Hope SLC will not take this gamble again, enough is enough, SL has nothing to gain by playing against Bangladesh and more so in violent bangladesh, dont be so genarous

  • udendra on January 9, 2014, 5:07 GMT

    the two boards may have a good relationship, but to use SL cricketers as "guinea pigs" is totally unacceptable. If venues need to be changed it should be done without any compromise.

  • mano on January 9, 2014, 4:30 GMT

    Do not undertake this tour. Dont take chances with these Crickters lives. Thay had a narrow escape in Pakistan. Why must you take another chance? No not worth it.

  • Dummy4 on January 9, 2014, 3:03 GMT

    Sri Lanka must not take chances. The series must be played in the middle east (as against Pakistan) or in Sri Lanka, without deferring it.

  • Dummy4 on January 9, 2014, 1:15 GMT

    This shows the close ties between Bangladesh and SL... lovely to see

  • Android on January 8, 2014, 22:50 GMT

    this SL tour is very important for Asian cup and wt20. after WI pulled out u19 team few weeks ago, this tour will be closely monitored by others.

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