Bangladesh hosting of World T20 in doubt
The World T20 tournament could be moved from Bangladesh due to concerns at the country's lack of adequate facilities. ESPNcricinfo understands that Sri Lanka and South Africa are potential alternative venues although discussions have yet to reach the official stage.
An ICC official inspected the stadiums recently and is understood to have been underwhelmed by the results. The situation is now scheduled to be discussed at the ICC's annual conference in London later this week with insiders suggesting that concerns are such that a decision to move the tournament is one of the options to be discussed.
The men's and women's World T20 is scheduled to be played in four venues in Bangladesh between March 16 and April 6 next year. The stadiums in Mirpur and Chittagong are deemed perfectly acceptable for international cricket, but work on the facilities at the stadium in Sylhet, which was built last year - remains incomplete, and construction at the new stadium in Cox's Bazar, home of the world's longest natural sandy beach, is still underway.
BCB president Nazmul Hassan has this week vented his frustration about the slowness of work on the two unfinished grounds. The latest phase of work in the Sylhet Stadium began on June 7, and the BCB estimates that the four-storied pavilion will be completed by the time the ICC inspection team returns in September. There is a plan to host a couple of ODIs when New Zealand are touring in October.
But the National Sports Council, the sports regulator in Bangladesh and also the custodian of all sporting venues, have said that it would only be ready by November and that outfield drainage work will be delayed until after the World Twenty20s. As for the Cox's Bazar stadium, it is being built from scratch on a patch of land that was once a golf course.
While Sri Lanka cricket chief executive Ashley de Silva indicated that there had been no contact as yet between his board and the ICC, he did suggest that the country would be ready to host the tournament if required, even though it would mean that Sri Lanka could end up hosting World Twenty20 twice in 18 months. The most recent edition of the World Twenty20, which ended last October, was also held in Sri Lanka.
"There has been no communication between SLC and ICC on that topic," de Silva told ESPNcricinfo. "We have the facilities to host it, but I don't know if it will crop up at the meeting this week."
South Africa have made similar noises.
The other school of thought in Bangladesh questions whether the ICC might be more concerned about the country's political situation, especially when a national election is scheduled to be held in early 2014.
When they officially launched the tournament in April this year, it was at the end of month-long unrest in many parts of the country and immediately after a day-long general strike in Dhaka. The tournament is slated to be Bangladesh's fourth ICC event after hosting the 1998 ICC Knockout, the 2004 Under-19s World Cup and co-hosting the 2011 World Cup.
But Hassan and the board's acting CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury will have a lot of assurances to give to keep the event in Bangladesh.