Australian cricketers told to join state squads

Melbourne, Sep 30 (IANS) Australia’s Test cricketers have been instructed by Cricket Australia (CA) to rejoin their state squads for training as deliberations on the proposed tour of Bangladesh continue.

The 15 players led by new skipper Steve Smith had been expected to fly out on Monday morning to Bangladesh, and have been on standby since while CA sent a security delegation to Dhaka to assess the risks, reported on Wednesday.

A cancelled tour would cause a ripple effect throughout the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, with the Test players’ return squeezing some of the domestic cricketers out of the state squads. Those players could then be moved into the new CA XI team. The Australian squad had not assembled — players were due to fly from their home ports and meet in Dhaka.

The New South Wales Blues Matador Cup squad will now be bolstered by five Test players — Steven Smith, Nathan Lyon, Peter Nevill, Stephen O’Keefe and Mitchell Starc.

Western Australia had four players in the Test squad including Adam Voges, Cameron Bancroft, Mitchell Marsh and Shaun Marsh. Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja are back with Queensland; Glenn Maxwell, Peter Siddle with Victoria and the uncapped Andrew Fekete rejoins Tasmania.

All-rounder James Faulkner had already been part of Tasmania’s plans before he was called up to the Test squad as Pat Cummins’ injury replacement. South Australia is the only state to have their Matador One-Day Cup preparations unaffected.

CA officials will continue their talks on the security situation in Bangladesh with further meetings on Wednesday with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)here. CA’s security delegation returned home from Dhaka late on Tuesday having received briefings and reassurances from the highest levels of Bangladeshi government and security organisations.

Security head Sean Carroll will discuss his findings from his Dhaka visit with DFAT and will report to CA’s Board and the Australian Cricketers’ Association. Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan said he remained optimistic the tour would proceed as planned, with the first Test due to start on October 9 in Chittagong.

“We have assured them the highest level of security and I don’t think any other country has ever offered a team such a level of security. If they don’t come despite all of that it will be disappointing,” Hasan said.

“It will be hard to accept as well, since three teams toured here a few months ago. Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came here for a visit recently.”

Visits by the cricket teams of South Africa, Pakistan and India have passed without incident this year but the situation changed with last Friday’s warning from the Australian government of “reliable information” of militant action.

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