Bangladesh remains host for Asia Cup cricket

Dhaka, Jan 4 : Despite the political unrest, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Saturday decided to go ahead with the Asia Cup in Bangladesh as scheduled from February 25-March 8, a top Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) official said.

BCB media committee chairman Jalal Yunus was quoted as saying by that the ACC during its meeting in Colombo decided to give the green signal to the tournament as planned. During the meeting it was also decided that Afghanistan will make its Asia Cup debut.

The decision could be a shot in the arm for Bangladesh which will also host the World Twenty20 slated March 16 to April 6.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan had told ACC that they were not willing to play in Bangladesh, which was East Pakistan before gaining independence in 1971.

Trouble errupted in Bangladesh after Islamist opposition leader Abdul Kader Mollah, who was close to the pro-Pakistan militia in 1971, was executed last month for killing more than 350 unarmed civilians during the freedom struggle.

The hanging sparked a series of protests ahead of Sunday's general elections between the ruling Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP), which had close ties with Mollah.

Amidst the chaos, Sri Lanka had expressed interest in hosting the tournament if ACC decided to shift it out of Bangladesh.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) last month called back their under-19 cricket
team from Bangladesh citing security concerns during strikes and blockades after handmade bombs exploded in front of a Chittagong hotel where the team was staying.

Following the incident, the International Cricket Council (ICC) also wanted to figure out the security situation in Bangladesh for the World Twenty20.

The country has been rocked with clashes and explosions during Opposition blockades and strikes since November 26.

The Sri Lankan cricket team is supposed to start their Bangladesh tour January 24 where they are scheduled to play two Test matches, two T20s and three ODIs prior to the Asia Cup.

--IANS (Posted on 04-01-2014)

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