Australia tour of Bangladesh hangs on security briefings


SYDNEY: Australia are booked on a flight to Bangladesh late Tuesday but will await security briefings over fears militants could target Australians before deciding whether to go ahead with the tour.

Three Cricket Australia officials were to meet with top security and intelligence figures in Dhaka on Monday, the governing body’s website said.

Sunday’s planned team departure for Bangladesh was blocked after the foreign affairs ministry in Canberra warned “militants may be planning to target Australian interests”.

“This is not one of the ones you want to get wrong,” Australia’s team performance manager Pat Howard said Monday.

“Today is a big day, we have a lot of meetings, a lot of people on the ground. We want to make sure we are not under-reacting, but also not over-reacting.”

Howard told commercial radio that flights had been booked for the team to depart late Tuesday night.

“The advice we got was pretty direct against Australians and we want to make sure we’re doing our due diligence.

“We’ve bought ourselves 72 hours, but Cricket Australia is not going to put the players at risk.” He added that there was no specific threat against the Australian side.

CA’s anti-corruption and security manager Sean Carroll has already met with Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan.

Carrol and two other officials were to meet with Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, National Security Intelligence and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, the CA website said.

The minister on Sunday rejected as “groundless” any security threat to the tourists and said he hoped the games would go ahead.

Bangladesh are scheduled to host Australia for the first Test from October 9-13 in Chittagong and the second from October 17-21 in Dhaka. A three-day warm-up match was set to start on October 3 in Fatullah.