Australia delay departure for Bangladesh amid security concerns
Australia's Test tour of Bangladesh is in doubt after Cricket Australia delayed the departure of its team due to increased security concerns. The players were due to depart for Bangladesh on Monday but that has now been postponed as Cricket Australia awaits further security advice before determining if the tour will go ahead.
Cricket Australia published a press release on Saturday night in which chief executive James Sutherland cited "recent advice from a range of Australian government sources" that identified potential security risks to Australian interests in Bangladesh.
"We have received advice from DFAT [Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] and based on that information we are working with security experts and the Bangladesh Cricket Board on a revised security plan for the tour," Sutherland said. "We want the tour to go ahead and are planning for that, but the safety and security of our players and support staff is our number-one priority and won't be compromised.
"We will wait to receive updated security information early in the week before confirming the team's travel arrangements. In the meantime, we are working with the Australian Cricketers' Association and keeping our players and support staff fully informed."
Sources at the BCB has said that they were taken by surprise by the developments. There had been no security alerts issued in the country.
However, the Australian government's travel advice website, Smartraveller, issued updated travel advice for Bangladesh on Friday. It said "There is reliable information to suggest that militants may be planning to target Australian interests in Bangladesh."
The original tour schedule had Australia playing a warm-up game in Fatullah from October 3, followed by two Tests in Chittagong and Mirpur. It is due to be Australia's first Test tour of Bangladesh since 2006, although the team has travelled there for one-day matches and last visited in 2014 for the ICC World Twenty20 tournament.