Mumbai: Jan 16, 2014
The uncertainty over Bangladesh hosting the Asia Cup due to the political turmoil there was today put to rest with the Asian Cricket Council announcing the schedule of the tournament beginning on February 25.
Mirpur and Fatullah will host the regional tournament which will see the traditional sub-continental rivals India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and hosts Bangladesh taking part along with debutants Afghanistan who have got ODI recognition since 2009.
“We are delighted to be having Asia Cup in Bangladesh again,” said Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Chief Executive Syed Ashraful Huq after the signing of the Host Nation Agreement with the Bangladesh Cricket Board in Dhaka.
As per the schedule, the inaugural match of tournament, will be played between defending champions Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Fatullah. India begin their campaign against the home side at Fatullah on February 26. The final is scheduled on March 8 at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium at Mirpur, the ACC said in a release.
Bangladesh has been rocked by political violence in recent weeks, prompting speculation that the ICC World Twenty20 2014, due to be held in the country from March 16 to April 6, may be shifted elsewhere.
The ICC is due to hold a security assessment meeting in Dhaka on January 20 to determine if the World Twenty20 can be hosted there.
According to reports, Pakistan, whose participation in the tournament was in doubt on security grounds, will also take part in the event.
According to the ACC chief executive Ashraful Huq, Pakistan are “provisionally” scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on February 22, train for the next two days, and then play the tournament opener at Fatullah against Sri Lanka on February 25, a Cricinfo report said.
Huq, however, said any team’s participation was subject to security clearance by their respective boards, but added that the tournament will go ahead even if any team decides to pull out.
Even if one team does not come, the tournament will go ahead. But I am sure they will all be here,” Huq said.
This year’s event will have 11 matches, as compared to seven held during the last two Asia Cups.
The tournament carries a total prize fund of USD 260,000 with the winners and runners up taking home USD 60,000 and 30,000 respectively.
“The success of the last event in Bangladesh, where the support of the crowds is for all teams, not just the home nation, made for a terrific event,” Huq said.
“After what has been a particularly difficult time for the citizens of Bangladesh, people can once again unite in support of their country, their visitors and the Asia Cup, an event which over the years has held up the cause of a united Asia, the new centre of cricket,” said Huq.
BCB Acting CEO Nizam Uddin Chowdhury reiterated Bangladesh’s commitment to deliver a successful event.
“We have a proud history of holding high profile international cricket competitions. I believe it is a tribute to the organisational skills of BCB and passion for cricket in Bangladesh that Asia Cup has returned to our country. Every effort will be made to ensure a smooth hosting of Asia Cup 2014,” Chowdhury said.
“The event comes at a very busy juncture for us. The ICC World T20 2014 is only two months away while Sri Lanka will be arriving in Bangladesh in just over a week’s time to play a full series. This is a huge challenge for the BCB from an organisational perspective but I am confident that our dedicated work force will be up to it,” he added.
STAR TV are the rights-holders of the event.
This year’s tournament is being played in a round-robin format between the nations. Play starts each day at 2PM local time.
Asia Cup Schedule:
Feb 25: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Fatullah
Feb 26: Bangladesh v India at Fatullah
Feb 27: Afghanistan v Pakistan at Fatullah
Feb 28: India v Sri Lanka at Fatullah
Mar 1: Bangladesh v Afghanistan at Fatullah
Mar 2: India v Pakistan at Sher-e-Bangla, Mirpur
Mar 3: Afghanistan v Sri Lanka at Sher-e-Bangla
Mar 4: Bangladesh v Pakistan at Sher-e-Bangla
Mar 5: Afghanistan v India at Sher-e-Bangla
Mar 6: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Sher-e-Bangla
Mar 8: Final at Sher-e-Bangla.
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