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BCB focus on Lanka series, not Asia Cup

Staff Correspondent

The Bangladesh Cricket Board is focused on the forthcoming home series against Sri Lanka rather than the Asia Cup despite the looming threats of a boycott by Pakistan, BCB officials said on Monday.
Quoting an unnamed source, an influential Indian newspaper reported on Monday that Pakistan remains undecided about their participation in the tournament and is still assessing the situation in Bangladesh.
‘The Sri Lanka tour is our main focus,’ said BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury.
‘If we can successfully complete it than it will certainly help us create a positive picture.’
Sri Lanka, who are scheduled to arrive on January 24 to play two Test matches, three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals, have yet to commit to the tour.
BCB president Nazmul Hasan and Nizamuddin met their Sri Lankan counterparts at the Asian Cricket Council meeting in Colombo and, based on their discussion with Sri Lanka Cricket president Jayantha Dharmadasa, the BCB officials said they were optimistic.
The BCB is expected to receive the SLC’s final confirmation during the International Cricket Council meeting on January 9.
BCB officials say that if the SLC gives its confirmation it will also help them convince the Asia Cup and ICC World Twenty20 participants to play in Bangladesh.
While they are focused on the Sri Lanka tour, BCB officials said they were not ignoring the need to bridge the gap with the Pakistan Cricket Board, which has been upset with the BCB since Bangladesh refused to tour Pakistan last year.
A source confirmed that the BCB had already sought an appointment with the Pakistan High Commissioner to explain that the overall situation in the country is not as threatening to the Pakistan team as some people perceive it to be.
The decision to meet the Pakistan High Commisioner came at a time when Indian daily newspaper the Mumbai Mirror reported that Pakistan was unlikely to come to Dhaka to participate in the Asia Cup.
In the report, an unnamed PCB source says their participation is subject to many conditions, effectively stating that there is no guarantee that Pakistan will take part. The PCB wants to assess the situation before giving the go ahead.
‘Pakistan will have to assess the developing situation carefully before confirming its participation if the matches are held in Bangladesh,’ a high-level PCB official close to interim board president Najam Sethi told the Mirror. He called the situation in Bangladesh adverse to the Pakistan cricket team.
On Saturday, the ACC decided to go ahead with the Asia Cup in Bangladesh despite reports of political instability in the country. Reports also said the situation in Bangladesh is volatile and Sunday’s national elections were marred by violence and protests.
The PCB said that anti-Pakistani sentiments are prevailing in Bangladesh and it cannot ignore the perceived threat to its team in Dhaka. The Pakistan board has also revealed that the country’s foreign office is just as concerned.
A BCB official requesting anonymity said that they are trying to give a clear picture of the existing situation to the PCB, as they feel there is some sort of misconception about the whole affair.
‘The PCB perhaps has the wrong idea about Bangladesh’s situation, and we need to clarify that,’ said the official.
‘It is not true that Quader Molla was hanged because he supported Pakistan, but rather because he committed war crimes during that time, which include mass killing,’ he said.
ACC chief executive Ashraful Haque admitted that that PCB was monitoring the situation in Bangladesh very closely, as they had yet to decide about their participation in the Asia Cup.
‘It is true they are not confirmed for the next Asia Cup,’ Ashraful told New Age on Monday.
‘They are monitoring the situation and will let us know about their decision later.’

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