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Australia's cricket team delays tour of Bangladesh over security fears

Last updated on: September 26, 2015 20:33 IST

 

Australia's cricket team delayed its planned departure to Bangladesh after been warned by the Australian government that there is a potential security risk from militants.

The Australian team was due to fly out of Sydney on Monday morning for the three-week tour, which includes two Test matches against Bangladesh.

But Cricket Australia announced on Saturday that the team's travel plans had been placed on hold after Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) warned that militants could be planning an attack.

"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," CA chief executive James Sutherland said in a statement.

"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."

DFAT, which provides travel advice to Australians planning to go overseas, issued a fresh one on Bangladesh on Friday.

"There is reliable information to suggest that militants may be planning to target Australian interests in Bangladesh. Australian officials in Bangladesh have been advised to limit their movements in public places," the DFAT advisory said.

Australia has not played a Test match in Bangladesh for a decade but were scheduled to make their return this year, playing a three-day warm-up match in Fatullah, starting October 3, before back-to-back Tests in Chittagong from October 9 then Dhaka from October 17.

"We will wait to receive updated security information early in the week before confirming the team's travel arrangements," Sutherland added.

"In the meantime, we are working with the ACA (Australian Cricketers Association) and keeping our players and support staff fully informed."

Militants have targeted secularist writers in Bangladesh in recent years, while the government has cracked down on Islamist groups seeking to make the South Asian nation of 160 million people a sharia-based state.

Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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