The Telegraph
Saturday , January 4 , 2014
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Security presentation holds the key for BCB

- Bangla may keep Asia Cup; Afghans could get slot
While India had a disastrous 11th Asia Cup, in March 2012, it will still be remembered by Indian fans for Sachin Tendulkarís 100th (and last) International hundred. That was against Bangladesh in Dhaka. (AFP)

Calcutta: Should the executive board of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), which meets in Colombo on Saturday, be satisfied with the “security presentation” put together by Bangladesh’s “defence forces,” then the February 24-March 7 Asia Cup will be held there as scheduled.

Generally, there have been misgivings over security because of the violence ahead of Sunday’s general elections. But at this stage, indications are that the ACC could desist from choosing a new host.

Because of the tight calendar and the IPL, the dates for the tournament cannot be changed.

“The Bangladesh Army has been involved in making the presentation, which is to be placed by the Bangladesh Cricket Board before the other members of the executive board...

“Bangladesh’s intelligence set-up has also featured in the exercise, besides the top-most police officers directly associated with the administration of (capital) Dhaka,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph on Friday.

The source added: “The incidents are related to the general elections, which have been boycotted by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the principal opposition. Normalcy may return after Sunday... It’s probably just a matter of days before things are back on track...

“In any case, the BNP has given an assurance that it won’t do anything to harm the Asia Cup. That’s a big plus.”

The BNP and the ruling Awami League don’t see eye to eye on anything, but both are on the same page when it comes to cricket.

Public sentiment, after all, rules.

As in 2012, when Bangladesh hosted the last (11th) edition of the Asia Cup, all the matches are slated to be held in Dhaka only.

Right now, the upcoming edition is limited to the Big Four — India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. However, Afghanistan could be made the fifth team.

In fact, as the ACC is largely there to promote cricket, its executive board should go that extra yard and do Afghanistan a good turn.

Afghanistan have, in a massive first, already qualified for the 2015 World Cup. They made it after finishing second in the ICC World Cricket League Championship, behind the more experienced Ireland.

While the sport’s premier tournament is 13 months away, any top-level exposure in the 50-over format would benefit Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s in the running for a hat-trick of appearances in the World T20 as well. The next edition, soon after the Asia Cup, is in Bangladesh.

Excellent times, then, for a country which has been making negative headlines for years.

Besides “reviewing” the situation in Bangladesh, the ACC’s executive board will decide on who gets the telecast rights for the Asia Cup. Its contract with Nimbus has been “terminated.”

By rotation it is India’s turn, so the Board president, Narayanswamy Srinivasan, heads the ACC too.