The Sri Lanka cricket team's visit to Bangladesh this month is considered by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) as a key feature to keep the two multinational events -- the Asia Cup and the ICC World Twenty20 -- on track. And the BCB received confirmation from their Sri Lankan counterparts yesterday that Sri Lanka will arrive in Dhaka on January 24 as scheduled to play two Tests, three ODIs and two T20Is.
The security has been the most talked-about issue in Bangladesh's cricket fraternity in the wake of the prevalent political turmoil but the reconfirmation that the five-team Asia Cup in February-March will go ahead in the country had brought relief, which can now only be greater with the confirmation from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) ensuring that this year's cricket carnival will kick off as planned -- with the Sri Lanka tour.
BCB President Nazmul Hassan Papon, who is in Dubai for a meeting of ICC full member countries, said Papon in a statement: “The SLC representatives have confirmed here today that the Sri Lanka team will tour Bangladesh as planned. The standard security inspections and monitoring in regards to the arrangements will continue side by side.
"There was a discussion among Asian nations about the Asia Cup and that event will be hosted by Bangladesh as decided in February-March,” added the statement provided by BCB.
CricInfo however reported that Sri Lanka Cricket was more guarded in its response as its president Jayantha Dharmadasa said: "We have said we are touring and we have taken the FTP [into consideration], so the assurance is there. At the present time we can't say we're not going, and that's what I told them [BCB]. We have two people going to assess the situation, because it's changing day by day."
The report added that the security committee will comprise former CEO Ajit Jayasekara -- an air commodore with the Sri Lanka Air Force -- and vice-president Mohan de Silva. Incumbent CEO Ashley de Silva had said the board would make its final decision on the tour by January 15, with the team set to depart for Bangladesh on January 24.
It is expected that the security team will discuss details of the tour, including venues.
“There has been no talk of changing any venues for security reasons. Everything remains as scheduled,” said BCB's media committee chairman Jalal Yunus, reacting to suggestions that Sri Lanka had demanded a change in venue for the first ODI, scheduled to take place at the newly-built Sylhet Divisional Stadium, which is supposed to make its international debut through this match.
There have also been reports of uncertainty over the participation of Pakistan in the Asia Cup but Papon has reportedly also gotten a positive response from his Pakistan counterparts.
“We have also received a positive response from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) regarding Pakistan's participation in the Asia Cup. The PCB has requested enhanced security measures for the cricket team during the Asia Cup and we have given our assurance of providing the same."
The security aspects surrounding the Pakistan team's participation in the Asia Cup was discussed among representatives of the Asian nations on the sidelines of the ICC meeting in Dubai yesterday.
“We have had a positive discussion. The PCB has requested additional security measures for the Pakistan team which will be incorporated in our security plan. We have assured the PCB that their requirements will be fulfilled. The PCB has also confirmed that they will send their representative for the security briefing scheduled in Dhaka on 20 January,” informed BCB's acting CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury, who is also in Dubai with the board president.