Concerns over T20 World Cup hosts Bangladesh

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 12/01/2014

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A decision on whether the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup will be moved from Bangladesh is expected to be made at an ICC security meeting this week.

General elections in Bangladesh have created wide-spread uprisings which are being closely monitored by leading cricket officials ahead of the tournament in March, Federation of International Cricketers' Association executive chairman Paul Marsh confirmed.

"A lot of this is going to hinge on the elections which have been taking place in recent days," Marsh told Sunday News. "We're waiting on updates to see if anything has changed from a threat assessment perspective. We'll take action depending on that.

"At the moment we're largely comfortable with the facilities and plans on the ground, but it's a matter of if the situation changes on the back of these elections. There's no decision at this point.

"We've still got a bit of time, but it's something we're watching on a daily basis. If we feel it's not safe at any point we'd recommend the players get out of there. That's the nature of these things. It's about being well organised.

"These types of issues can be very emotional, but we've got independent terrorism and security experts on the ground. The people we use are well trusted by the players."

While New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White failed to return calls, he issued a statement confirming the Bangladesh hosting rights were a key topic at an ICC executives meeting in Dubai last week.

"There will be an ICC security meeting to discuss it further on 20 January," White said in a statement on Friday.

Sri Lanka has offered to step in and host the T20 tournament at late notice.

In many ways New Zealand Cricket is best placed to assess the threats in Bangladesh. The Black Caps toured Bangladesh late last year when a number of Molotov cocktails exploded outside their team hotel. After similar explosions, the West Indies pulled their under-19 side out of Bangladesh six games early.

The latest revelations see the Pakistan Cricket Board warning their involvement in next month's Asia Cup, an event which includes India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and is seen as a dress rehearsal for the T20 World Cup, was also no given.

New Zealand Cricket Players' Association boss Heath Mills also has major concerns about the unrest in Bangladesh.

"The Black Caps got through their tour but it wasn't without incident," Mills said. "You can't be sending your people unless you're confident they are going to return home safely. If there are any concerns, they shouldn't be going. There needs to be a detailed security check process completed.

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"I'm very familiar with the situation on the ground there and it's got worse following the elections. We are naturally concerned and need to be convinced the players are going to be safe before we go ahead. There's a bit of work to do yet. There might be good plans in place, it's another thing delivering across cities whilst there's so much unsettled activity in Bangladesh.

"This security meeting the ICC are holding on the 20th is very important. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of that."

- Sunday News

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