Asia Cup to go ahead in Dhaka as plannedAgence France-Presse . Colombo
Asia’s cricket chiefs on Saturday said violence-plagued Bangladesh would remain the venue for next month’s Asia Cup and added Afghanistan as the fifth team in the regional one-day tournament.
Some observers had expected officials to move the tournament out of Bangladesh following an outbreak of violent protests and strikes in the capital Dhaka ahead of elections Sunday.
‘The tournament will go ahead as scheduled in Bangladesh from February 25,’ Asian Cricket Council chief executive Ashraful Huq told AFP after an executive board meeting in Colombo.
‘Everything is in place for the tournament, no one raised any issue about safety,’ Huq said, adding the Bangladesh Cricket Board had made a detailed security presentation at the meeting.
An ACC release said 11 matches will be played in the tournament with the final on March 8.
Election-related violence in Bangladesh has claimed more than 140 lives since late October, with opposition parties boycotting the polls and organising a series of blockades across the country.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had said on Thursday it was seeking its government’s advice about sending a team for the Asia Cup due to the continuing political unrest in Bangladesh.
But Huq said Pakistan did not raise any security concerns at the meeting. ‘Pakistan have said yes, they have not said no,’ he said.
However, a Pakistan board source told AFP on Saturday that it will seek further clarification on the Asia Cup during a meeting of the International Cricket Council on January 9.
Afghanistan will join Asia’s four Test nations—India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh—in the 50-over tournament, Huq added.
The fast-improving Afghanistan team, which has qualified for their maiden appearance in the 50-over World Cup, have also made it to their third successive World Twenty20.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board said it was grateful to the ACC and the other teams for allowing it to participate in the regional competition.
‘Afghanistan needs the kind of elite level experience that competing against big teams can provide us,’ ACB chief executive Noor Mohammad Murad said in a statement. ‘Win or lose, the experience we gain will be very important for us.’
Bangladesh is also due to host the World Twenty20 tournament from March 16 to April 6.
The three venues chosen for the World Twenty20 -- capital Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet—have all experienced violence over the past month.
An ICC spokesman told AFP last month that the world body was ‘actively monitoring’ the situation in Bangladesh.
The danger posed to teams was underlined last month when a small bomb exploded outside the hotel of the West Indies Under-19 team in the port city of Chittagong, prompting them to cut short their tour.
Sri Lanka said it will go ahead with its month-long bilateral tour of Bangladesh from January 27 that features two Tests, two Twenty20 matches and three one-day internationals.
‘We pay great attention to player safety and security. We have been assured of that,’ Cricket Sri Lanka’s secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told AFP.
‘If we want cricket to continue in this region, we need to play in these (Asian) countries.’
Sri Lanka’s cricketers had been attacked by militants during a tour of Pakistan in March, 2009 while they were on their way to resume a Test match in Lahore.
‘We have faced these (security) problems, Pakistan has faced these problems and now Bangladesh is facing them,’ Ranatunga said. ‘We must unite to face these challenges.’
comments powered by Disqus
Defending champions Sheikh Russell KC posted their second win in as many games when they came from behind to register an enterprising 2-1 victory over Chittagong Abahani in the Bangladesh Premier Football League on Saturday. Goals from... Full story
Players and the officials of the Bangladesh Cricket Board heaved a sigh of relief as the Asian Cricket Council on Saturday announced that the forthcoming Asia Cup will go on as per schedule in Dhaka. Full story
World number one Serena Williams stamped herself as favourite for the Australian Open when she beat Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Brisbane International on Saturday. In what could be a dress rehearsal for the Melbourne decider, Williams won a close... Full story
Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim began his individual preparation ahead of the forthcoming home Test series against Sri Lanka as he returned to practice on Saturday after recovering from injury. Full story
Last season’s beaten FA Cup finalists Manchester City tasted fresh disappointment in the competition on Saturday when they drew 1-1 at second-tier Blackburn Rovers in the third round. Stunned by Wigan Athletic in last year’s final, City took the lead... Full story
The first weekend of the New Year features the biggest game of the season so far in Serie A, as leaders Juventus entertain second-placed Roma in Turin today. Juve come into 2014 five points clear of Roma at the summit, and so a win will see... Full story
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has waded into the debate about diving in football by claiming that ‘players are always trying to cheat’. FIFA president Sepp Blatter broached the issue earlier this week when he called... Full story
Australia were closing in on a 5-0 Ashes sweep after demolishing England’s batting and pushing their lead to 311 runs after just two days of the final Sydney Ashes Test on Saturday. The relentless Australians blasted out the hapless tourists for 155 -- the fifth... Full story
Four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi will need to wait to make his return from a hamstring injury after being left out of Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino’s squad for today’s visit of Elche. Full story
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will miss the FA Cup third-round meeting with Swansea City today due to a groin injury, manager David Moyes has revealed. The England striker, 28, has been nursing the problem... Full story
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was charged by the Football Association on Friday for allegedly questioning the integrity of referee Lee Mason in his side’s 2-1 defeat against Manchester City. Full story
Jose Mourinho insists he does not want Juan Mata to leave Chelsea and expects the Spain international to remain at Stamford Bridge this month. Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, appeared to pave the way for Mata’s departure... Full story
The national hockey team’s Pakistani coach Naveed Alam left Dhaka on Saturday to be beside his stricken father. Naveed’s father will undergo a cardiac surgery in a few days’ time and the 43-year old Pakistani coach is scheduled... Full story
The first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka ended in a draw on the fifth and final day in Abu Dhabi on Saturday after Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad hit half-centuries. Hafeez finished with 80 not out for his ninth Test... Full story
Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer survived a massive scare from Frenchman Jeremy Chardy Saturday to reach the final of the Brisbane International. Federer was outplayed for large parts of the match but lifted when it mattered to... Full story
New Zealand won a rain-affected fourth one-day international by 58 runs on Saturday to take a 2-1 lead over the West Indies in their five-match series. The game in Nelson was decided under the Duckworth-Lewis method... Full story
Andre Iguodala hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer and David Lee scored 23 points as the Golden State Warriors extended the NBA’s longest winning streak to eight games with a 101-100 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. Full story
The seven-team Club Cup hockey tournament is scheduled to get underway on January 7, said officials of the Bangladesh Hockey Federation at a press conference on Saturday. Full story