Emergency meeting in Colombo to decide Asia Cup fate
BY Chanaka De Silva
Dec 23, 2013

The fate of the Asia Cup cricket tournament will be decided at an emergency meeting of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Executive Board to be held in Colombo on January 4, sources said.

The tournament featuring India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh was originally scheduled to be played from February 24 to March 7 in Bangladesh but the increasing domestic unrest and violence has forced the ACC to convene an emergency meeting to decide the future of the bi-annual tournament.It was just two weeks ago that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told “Daily Mirror” that they were monitoring the situation in Bangladesh as Sri Lanka national team is to embark on a Test and ODI tour there next month.

“We have to monitor the situation for the next few weeks and take a decision on the tour” Ranatunga said.

The situation worsened yesterday when Pakistan indicated that they would be unwilling to send their team to Bangladesh due to security concerns.

Pakistan Cricket Board's acting chairman Najam Sethi who is currently in Dubai where Sri Lanka is playing Pakistan had told media that Pakistan would require special security in Bangladesh as the trials of the 1971 war criminals have led to rising tensions between Pakistan and Bangladesh.

"We are keeping the foreign office informed about the situation and there could be different scenarios in the near future for our team," Sethi had said.

The joint opposition parties are leading this campaign against the Bangladesh government and violence has now spread throughout the country. Reports add that more than seventy people have been killed so far in the campaign that demands Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should step down immediately though elections are scheduled for next year.

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) withdrew from their U-19 team’s tour of Bangladesh two weeks ago, following a bomb explosion near the team hotel in Chittagong.

Media reports quoted an unnamed cricket official as saying that the Asia Cup tournament would be postponed indefinitely but SLC President Jayantha Dharmadasa said that Sri Lanka will propose to shift the tournament to Sri Lanka instead of postponing it.

“We have spent a lot of money to build world class stadiums. We are keen and ready to host an international tournament of any magnitude at any time. It’s a shame if we have to cancel or postpone an important tournament like Asia Cup as it is an injustice for the millions of cricket lovers in this region. We are definitely going to lobby strongly to host the tournament, in case ACC decides to postpone the tournament” Dharmadasa said yesterday.

If ACC members are not satisfied with the security situation in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka would be the only alternative choice as India who were originally scheduled to host the tournament had earlier refused, giving the excuse of a packed international calendar, resulting in it being moved to Bangladesh.

The schedule currently in place was planned in September this year in Chennai at an ACC meeting which was also attended by Ranatunga.

The Asia Cup dates and venues will also have to be confirmed by Nimbus, who owns the tournament’s TV rights. Initially, there had also been doubts about the tournament when Nimbus filed for bankruptcy.

Among the officials to attend the meeting on January 4 in Colombo are; N.Sirinivasan (ACC President), Ravi Sehgal (ACC Vice President), Najam Aziz Sethi (Acting PCB Chairman), Jayantha Dharmadasa (SLC President), Nazmul Hasaan (Bangladesh), K.H.Imran (Singapore), Amurag Thakur (BCCI), Jigme Norbu (Bangladesh), Haider Farman, Sanjaya Patel (BCCI), Nizam Chowdhury (Bangladesh), Subhan Ahamed (PCB), Nishantha Ranthunga (SLC), Syed Ashraful Huq (CEO – ACC)

In the agenda for the meeting to be presided over by Indian cricket supremo N. Sirinivasan will be the situation in Bangladesh and its effect on the Asia Cup and ICC World T20 to be held in March and also the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka

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