'They'll come' - Sourav Ganguly confident Bangladesh tour of India will go ahead
Sourav Ganguly is confident that Bangladesh's tour of India next month will take place as scheduled, despite concerns to the contrary following Bangladesh's top cricketers announcing a strike on Monday.
"It's an internal matter, they will sort it out. No, no, they'll come," Ganguly, the BCCI's president-elect, said on Tuesday morning in Kolkata when asked about the situation. "We [he and BCB president Nazmul Hassan] speak every other day, but this [the strike] is not my job."
Bangladesh's cricketers got together on Monday and made their decision public to not to participate in any cricket-related activity until the BCB addresses their demands for the improvement of cricket in the country. The players, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah and other prominent names among them, released a list of 11 demands, with Shakib saying, "When the demands are met, normal service will resume." The BCB has since called an emergency meeting of its directors to discuss the matter.
That, understandably, cast doubts over Bangladesh's tour of two Tests and three T20Is in India, slated to begin on November 3 and run till November 26. But not only is Ganguly certain of Bangladesh making the tour, he is also firming up plans to have the Indian and Bangladeshi heads of state attend the second Test, to be played at Kolkata's Eden Gardens from November 22.
"The prime minister of Bangladesh will be attending. We haven't yet sent the invitation to the Indian prime minister, but we will be sending it," Ganguly said. "We will be inviting the chief minister [of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee] also, for day one of the Test match. I will go meet her".
Not only does Bangladesh and the state of West Bengal share a long history - the Indian state was partitioned to form the country - Bangladesh's first Test match was against India, back in 2000. With this being the first time Bangladesh are playing a Test match in Kolkata, Ganguly, who led India in that Test in Dhaka, wants to make the occasion even more memorable.
"We will write now to the Bangladesh board - Bangladesh's first Test was with India, so we want to invite those players [who played the match]. And I will write, as the BCCI president as and when I get elected, to players of that team. The Indian players too. So we will do a felicitation when the game [day's play] finishes at 3.30pm," Ganguly said, adding that the prime ministers - both of them, depending on their availability - would also be requested to ring the bell to announce the start of the Test.