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January 15, 2014
The ICC will, next week, meet key stakeholders in the World Twenty20, to be held in Bangladesh in March-April, to discuss security-related concerns following the spate of violence in the country over the past few months. The meeting, to be held in Dhaka on January 20, will be attended by security consultants from various participating countries, the ICC's security manager Sean Norris - who will coordinate the meeting - and senior officials of the Bangladesh Cricket Board and representatives of the national government.
The World Twenty20 is the third and last of a series of international cricket events in Bangladesh over the next few months, all of which are still to be finalised. A decision on the Sri Lanka tour is expected over the weekend while there is a question mark over Pakistan's participation in the Asia Cup, which is scheduled to be held before the World T20.
The concerns from the teams have emanated from the steady violence throughout Bangladesh from last October till a week after the general elections which concluded on January 5. It has already impacted cricket: the touring New Zealand side skipped a training session late October due to the strike called on October 27 and, in December, the West Indies Under-19 team left a tour of Bangladesh midway following an explosion near the team hotel in Chittagong.
The general elections, held on January 5, seemed to have stemmed the violence; the last week has been calm with few incidents reported and it is understood that the BCB will stress at the meeting that conditions are likely to return to normal. Norris has arrived in Dhaka and has visited a few of the stadiums, including the Fatullah Cricket Stadium where he went on Wednesday.
At the meeting, the advisors will be shown the presentation of the security framework put in place by the Bangladesh government, BCB and the ICC. "We have sent a security plan to the participating nations. We will present it at the meeting, and if anyone has queries, we will answer to that," BCB's acting chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said. ESPNcricinfo understands that the BCB will be coordinating with a cell at the Dhaka Metropolitan Police for the overall security of all three upcoming events.
Paul Marsh, chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, said that the players were concerned about the risk element and hence it was absolutely necessary to get an independent and clear view. FICA has appointed ECB security consultant Reg Dickason's company Eastern Star International as an advisor. Dickason will double up as the independent expert at the ICC security meeting next week and submit his report to FICA.
FICA, March told ESPNcricinfo, was interested in getting a threat assessment of the tournament from an independent security agency on behalf of the players and the individual player associations.
"There is still time between now and the event but what we are asking is to get an overview on the situation in Bangladesh at the moment," Marsh said. "The ICC and BCB will, I am sure, put forward an international view at the meeting which will be considered by our advisor. But it is our advisor who will recommend us as to whether it is safe or not to go."
Additional reporting by Mohammad Isam
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Nagraj Gollapudi
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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