WIndies cancel tour of Bangladesh due to security
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — The West Indies Cricket Board has decided to withdraw its under-19 team from a tour of Bangladesh due to security concerns after a series of violent protests over the national election due on Jan. 5.
In a statement, the West Indies cricket board said it took the decision “in the best interest of the safety and security.”
The decision came Sunday after a crude bomb exploded Saturday near the West Indies’ team hotel in the southeastern city of Chittagong. The WICB said there was no immediate danger for the team.
The statement said the board’s decision “was taken following consideration of a report on the situation in Bangladesh as prepared by WICB Security Manager Paul Slowe. The report emphasized that the current security environment in Bangladesh is not conducive to the playing of cricket in light of the 72 hours nationwide blockade and calls for countrywide dawn to dusk protest.”
“Travel arrangements are being made to allow for the team’s return to the Caribbean as quickly as possible,” it said. “The team will remain safely accommodated at the team hotel under adequate security protection until departure from Bangladesh.”
The Bangladesh Cricket Board is reluctant to formally make any comment on the West Indies’ decision. A BCB official said on condition of anonymity because negotiations are ongoing, that the board is attempting to convince the West Indies to continue the series, if necessary by shifting the venue to the capital, Dhaka, from Chittagong.
The decision has put hold on a seven-match one-day series between the West Indies and Bangladesh youth teams with just only game played.
Close to 100 people have died since October in political violence in the South Asian nation amid fear of escalating chaos as the government and the opposition faced off over who would oversee the election. The government has decided to hold the election on Jan. 5, but the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party and its allies have decided to boycott it.
Bangladesh’s opposition wants Prime Minister Sehikh Hasina to quit and hand over power to a caretaker government to oversee the next election. Hasina has refused to do so
Bangladesh is scheduled to host Sri Lanka for a series from next month, followed by the Asia Cup and the Twenty20 World Cup in March-April.