Bangladesh relieved to keep junior World Cup


Bangladesh breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday after cricket’s governing body confirmed that the country would host next year’s junior World Cup despite mounting concerns over security.

Australia last month cancelled a two-Test tour of Bangladesh citing fears of terrorism while the South African women’s team subsequently shelved a tour, which had been due to begin on Thursday, on similar grounds.

The cancellations had raised questions over whether Bangladesh would be allowed to go ahead with hosting the biennial Junior World Cup from January 22 to February 14 of next year.

But after a two-day meeting of its executive board in Dubai, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced there would be no change of venue although plans would be drawn up to ensure players’ security.

“The Board confirmed that the Bangladesh Cricket Board will host next year’s ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup,” the ICC said in a statement, adding it was working with the Bangladeshi authorities on “developing an appropriate security plan that addresses all security risks”.

The Bangladesh board said it was happy with the decision and pointed to its successful hosting of the T20 World Cup last year as proof of its ability to stage international tournaments in a secure environment.

“We can assure we’ll do everything it takes to make the Junior World Cup a big success. The government has said it’ll provide the highest level security at the tournament,” board spokesman Jalal Yunus told AFP.

Safety fears for foreigners have heightened in Muslim-majority Bangladesh after the recent murders of an Italian aid worker and a Japanese farmer which were claimed by the Islamic State group.

Bangladesh is desperate to avoid the fate of Pakistan which has had to host nearly all of its home matches at neutral venues since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus during a 2009 Test match in Lahore.