The International Cricket Council (ICC) says it will monitor political violence in Bangladesh ahead of next year’s ICC World Twenty20 in the troubled country but is “happy” for now with arrangements.
An ICC official said there would be a “continual review” of planning for the March-April tournament in view of the turmoil that has left dozens of people dead in street protests around the country.
“This is a situation that we have to consistently monitor,” Chris Tetley, an ICC event manager, told reporters late on Monday after a final inspection of the stadiums in Dhaka and in Fatullah, just outside the capital.
“Security is something we keep discussing. Obviously the things today could be different tomorrow. There will be a continual review of our arrangements against the situation. But at this stage, we are definitely happy,” Tetley said.
Asked whether the ICC would shift the tournament to another country if the violence escalated, Tetley said: “It’s difficult to speculate because we don’t know what’s going to happen.”
“All we can do is continually assess the situation and discuss with the BCB [Bangladesh Cricket Board] and make plans accordingly,” he added.
Opposition supporters have held protests since late October that have left 52 people dead, along with a series of strikes and blockades that have paralyzed large parts of the country.
The opposition announced this week that it was boycotting elections scheduled for Jan. 5, unless Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina resigns beforehand, plunging the country into renewed political turmoil. The opposition alliance wants Hasina to step aside and make way for the polls at a later date under a neutral non-party government.
Hasina has rejected the demand and instead formed an interim multi-party cabinet comprising her allies to conduct the polls.
Bangladesh is set to host the tournament in three cities, Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet — all of which have been hit by the violence.
Tetley said he was impressed with the stadiums he had inspected so far, adding that the “dressing room facilities here are fantastic”, referring to Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.
The ICC team were due to inspect facilities in Chittagong yesterday and Sylhet today.
The ICC World Twenty20 will feature all of the world’s top teams plus cricket newcomers including Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Nepal.