|Bangladesh in a bind over deadly violence ahead of major cricket event
Bangladesh's cricket chief has said that next year's Twenty20 World Cup is threatened by the deadly political violence, warning there may only be weeks to save the tournament. (Pictured, a man injured during a bout of political violence).
The 16-team competition, due to take place between March 16 and April 6, should be the biggest sporting event to be staged by Bangladesh.
But the country has been gripped by violent protests in recent weeks, with opposition supporters insisting that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stand aside ahead of elections due next year. More than 74 people have been killed since late October.
“If this situation prevails, then any big tournament or participation of any big country will be under threat,'' Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan said.
“This must end in January and preferably in December.''
A team of International Cricket Council inspectors said last week they were “happy'' with security arrangements but said they would continue to monitor the situation.
However, the dangers posed to teams was underlined at the weekend when a small bomb exploded outside the West Indies Under-19 team hotel in the port city of Chittagong, prompting them to cut short their tour.
Bangladesh is also due to host a tour by Sri Lanka in January. They will also stage the Asia Cup, a 50-over tournament from February featuring India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the BCB's chief executive, said the ICC had asked the board to relay them an update on the situation.
“We will send [it to] them accordingly,'' he said.
The violence has affected almost every city in Bangladesh, including the three host cities for the T20 tournament – the capital Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet.