Bangladesh tour may still happen despite threats

AUSTRALIA'S tour of Bangladesh could still go ahead despite warnings of threats to player safety.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the picture should become clearer with head of security Sean Carroll due to meet with cricket officials and police in the country today.

"Our preferred position is to continue with the tour, but the safety and security of our players and staff is the absolute priority, and the first priority for us is to secure that, and we'll be endeavouring to get some undertakings and understanding of what the situation is in Bangladesh before we make further decisions in regard to the tour," Sutherland told reporters.

"It's actually been a significant religious holiday in Bangladesh over the weekend.

"Meetings will commence on Monday and we'll have a much better understanding of things from there."

The players were due to leave Australia today but that has been delayed. Sutherland said concerns were first raised last Friday when Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a security advice.

"The DFAT advice is for travellers who are ordinary civilians who are travelling on holidays or on business in Bangladesh, which is very different to the Australian cricket team, which is afforded the highest level of security by Bangladesh police and armed forces as well," Sutherland said.

The DFAT statement said Australians should be aware that normal travel in many parts of Dhaka was often not possible due to "arbitrary acts of violence".

The government website also warns "political violence occurs regularly in Bangladesh" and said political violence in January of this year resulted in "violent incidents, including arson attacks that took place across the country, resulting in death and injury".

Despite those warnings, the Bangladesh Cricket Board said Australian players should not be concerned because there was no specific threat to the players.

"The current security and safety level for Bangladesh is similar to other countries of the region," a BCB statement said.

A three-day warm-up match is due to start in Fatullah on October 3, before the first Test in Chittagong on October 9. The second Test is scheduled for October 17 in Dhaka.

- APN SPORTS BUREAU


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