Cricket: Asia Cup organisers mull Bangladesh switch

DHAKA- Organisers of cricket’s Asia Cup will hold talks next month to decide whether to move February’s tournament out of violence-plagued Bangladesh, a top official said on Thursday.

Asian Cricket Council chief executive Syed Ashraful Haque said the council would meet in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on January 4 to discuss alternative venues in light of the growing unrest in Bangladesh.

“As of now the Asia Cup will be held in Bangladesh as scheduled,” Haque told AFP.

“However, if the participating countries see that the security situation in Bangladesh prevailing at that time is not convenient for that, the question of shifting the venue arises.

“The alternative venue, as prevalent in every international tournament, will be decided in our meeting on January 4,” Haque added.

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are due to take part in the 50-over one-day tournament from February 24 to March 7.

All the matches are scheduled to take place in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, which has badly hit by violent protests and strikes in the build-up to a general election on January 5.

Bangladesh is also due to host the Twenty20 World Cup from March 16 to April 6, although the president of the national cricket board has admitted the violence could prevent the tournament from going ahead as planned.

The danger posed to teams was underlined earlier this 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.

Haque, who was previously the Bangladesh board’s general secretary, said postponing the event was not an option because the cricketing calendar was so crowded. It was therefore essential to decide on a possible alternative venue.

“We cannot let the slot of Asia Cup go away, so we have to keep an alternative venue ready,” he said.

Bangladesh is also scheduled to host the Sri Lanka team for a bilateral series from January 24 to February 22.