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Postponed tour a setback for players, BCB

Shakib Al Hasan celebrates a wicket with his team-mates AFP

Australia are not coming to Bangladesh to play the two Tests so the excitement has quite easily drained out of the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Bangladesh's home of cricket. Where there were supposed to be training sessions of two exciting young teams in the eastern and northwestern wings of the stadium, there is silence.

Bangladesh cricket has not dealt with such a long silence from international cricket for more than 13 years and this will leave the average fans - millions of them - disappointed. The BCB, too, will suffer some form of a financial blow although it is unlikely to ask Cricket Australia for any compensation lest the chances of a future tour are ruined. In any case, when security is grounds for postponing a tour there aren't many precedents of home boards claiming reimbursement. It also doesn't help when you're not the strongest voice among the Test-playing nations.

More worryingly, the BCB has to deal with the awkwardness of a foreign team refusing to tour despite the assurances given in meetings it had arranged with the highest level of intelligence and security agencies in the country.

Still, the most significant and immediate impact will be on the Bangladesh team that misses out on two very significant international matches. Test matches against Australia are rare for this team and none of the current squad has ever played one. The last Test between the two sides was held more than nine years ago.

The start of the 2015-16 international season in Bangladesh was supposed to be an interesting contest between two teams facing wide-ranging challenges. One that has gone through many recent retirements and is standing at a critical juncture, and another that has a lot to prove as a Test team but was being helped along by its ODI credentials.

The World Cup campaign, the continued success in the aftermath at home and the discovery of talented young players has made Bangladesh cricket a happy place in 2015. There was hope that they could crown the year with a strong performance against Australia in a format where they have shown signs of improvement. To be without international cricket for more than six months following the team's most successful period - October 2014 to August 2015 - could set them back several steps.

While the likes of Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan have had to adjust to breaks in international cricket, it will be a new challenge for players like Mustafizur Rahman, Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman, who are just starting out with their international careers.

All the squad members will be playing in the National Cricket League first-class competition for their respective divisions from October 3. But a break this long from international cricket is bound to hurt a team that has finally become consistent in ODIs and is looking to extend that into Tests. Zimbabwe aren't schedule to arrive before mid-January when they are supposed to play two Tests, three ODIs and three T20s. Bangladesh's last such break was a day short of six months back in 2002, between January and July.

For the BCB, the impact is multiple, too. Their media rights holders, Gazi TV, are sure to query the BCB about the financial implications of missing out on two Test matches. The BCB has also sold their in-stadia and other commercial rights to a company, which now sells those to third parties that get to buy the naming rights to each series. BCB is unlikely to be touched by those parties but it will nonetheless incur some financial losses.

Their plan to host the Bangladesh Premier League from November and the scheduled Under-19 World Cup would now have to go through more security reviews, assurances and clearances. While the tournaments will not be of similar importance to the Australia series, foreign players will be involved and teams could ask the same questions about security. In a relatively peaceful period in the country, a foreign team's refusal to travel due to security concerns could be a bigger problem for the BCB.

Getting VVIP-level security assurances for every team that is scheduled to visit Bangladesh in the future will be a big worry for the board, which could end up in a position of having to restore confidence in the country's security to visiting teams when its real job is to run cricket.

While a successfully run BPL may bring back smiles to fans and the Bangladesh players may recover with a good performance against Zimbabwe in January, the impact of this postponed tour could be a long-standing headache for the BCB.