Bangladesh puts Pakistan tour on hold over security

Updated 01 January 2013
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Bangladesh puts Pakistan tour on hold over security

DHAKA: Bangladesh said yesterday it had shelved on safety grounds a planned cricket tour of Pakistan, which would have been the first by an international team since a 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka’s bus.
The two teams had been scheduled to play a Twenty20 and a one-day international on Jan. 12 and 13 respectively, both in Lahore.
But Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan told reporters the proposed tour had been put off indefinitely amid fears over players’ safety, following protests by Bangladeshis and a Facebook campaign against the visit.
Anti-Pakistan sentiment still runs strong in the country, which was part of Pakistan until 1971 when it won independence after a nine-month war.
“Bangladesh will not visit Pakistan for now. We’ve made the decision after considering the overall security situation in Pakistan and the concern that our people have expressed over the safety of their players,” Hassan said.
“We made a commitment to visit Pakistan and it’s almost mandatory for us to tour the country. But we believe safety of players and officials are of highest importance. It’s a national issue.” Pakistan have had to play their “home” matches in venues ranging from Dubai to London ever since gunmen shot dead eight people and wounded seven Sri Lankan players in an audacious attack near the stadium in Lahore in March 2009.
The Bangladesh board had indicated two weeks ago that it was ready to send a team, albeit only after a final security review.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf had said on Dec. 22 that Bangladesh had confirmed the tour was definitely on.
Hassan said Bangladesh had informed the Pakistan board of its change of heart and added that the team would visit Pakistan if security improves.
“We have noticed the security situation in Pakistan has not improved significantly, rather deteriorated,” he said.
“We’ve sent a letter to Pakistan three days ago explaining our position. We’ve decided to wait and see.” Bangladesh had earlier agreed to tour Pakistan in April 2012 but the visit was blocked by the Dhaka High Court.
Hassan said that he feared Pakistan might now bar its own cricketers from playing in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in response to the decision.
The BPL is the Bangladeshi answer to the Indian Premier League — the hugely popular Twenty20 tournament, which has fused cricket with show business.
In the first edition back in February, 20 Pakistani players featured in the tournament, with all-rounder Shahid Afridi fetching $700,000 in an auction of stars — the highest amount paid.
More than 50 Pakistani players have already been bought at an auction for the second edition of the tournament, beginning on Jan. 17.
Officials said the BPL would go ahead even if Pakistan did not allow its cricketers to play.


LeBron’s 35 help Cavs beat Celtics 87-79, reach NBA Finals

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers blocks a dunk by Terry Rozier of the Boston Celtics during Game Seven of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 7 min 14 sec ago
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LeBron’s 35 help Cavs beat Celtics 87-79, reach NBA Finals

  • In the first close game of the series — and the lowest-scoring — James played all 48 minutes and had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for his sixth straight Game 7 win.
  • The NBA Finals begin Thursday at either Houston or Golden State.

BOSTON: With another Game 7 victory at stake, LeBron James would not miss. He would not sit out. And he would not be denied an eighth straight trip to the NBA Finals.
The four-time league MVP scored 35 points with 15 rebounds and nine assists on Sunday night, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an 87-79 win over the Celtics and eliminating Boston from the Eastern Conference finals in the decisive seventh game.
In the first close game of the series — and the lowest-scoring — James played all 48 minutes and had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for his sixth straight Game 7 win.
The NBA Finals begin Thursday at either Houston or Golden State. The Rockets host the seventh game of the West finals on Monday night.
Jayson Tatum scored 24 for Boston, which was looking to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. Al Horford scored 17 points and Marcus Morris added 14 with 12 rebounds for the Celtics, who led 72-71 with six minutes remaining before the Cavaliers scored 15 of the next 17 points to pull away.
James and Horford embraced after the buzzer, then the Cavaliers donned NBA Finals hats and Eastern conference championship shirts before shuffling off the court to receive their trophy.
It’s not the one they want.
James had to do it without Kevin Love — Cleveland’s only other all-star — who sustained a concussion in Game 6 and was replaced in the lineup by Jeff Green. Making his first start since the first-round opener against Indiana, Green scored 19 points and added eight rebounds — the star of James’ starless supporting cast.
The Celtics have had more time to get used to their injuries: Gordon Hayward has been out since the first game of the season, and Kyrie Irving has been sidelined since March. With the rookie Tatum and second-year Jaylen Brown, Boston established itself as the team of the future in the East.
But the present still belongs to James.
And, for now, that means Cleveland, too.

TIP-INS
Cavaliers: Shot just 2 of 17 from 3-point range in the first half. They made three of their first 22 shots before James and Green connected on back-to-back attempts midway through the third quarter.
Celtics: Paul Pierce, whose number was retired by the Celtics this season, cheered the team on from courtside. ... Rapper 21 Savage was also at the game. ... Boston was 7 for 39 from 3-point range, with Terry Rozier missing all 10 of his attempts.