Australia delay Bangladesh tour departure over security concerns

Melbourne, Sep 26 (IANS) Australia have delayed the departure of their Test team to Bangladesh amid security concerns raised by the Australian government that militant groups may target the tourists, Cricket Australia (CA) said on Saturday.

Australia, led by new skipper Steve Smith, were due to depart their various home ports on Monday with the full squad not assembling until arrival in Dhaka, CA said in a statement.

CA CEO James Sutherland said that recent advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) had identified a potential security risk in Bangladesh.

“We have received advice from DFAT 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 on Saturday.

“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 ACA and keeping our players and support staff fully informed,” he added.

Australia are scheduled to play a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in a three-day warm-up match starting October 3 in Fatullah before the first Test in Chittagong on October 9.

It is currently unclear if the matches will go ahead as scheduled.

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