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Bangladesh tour hinges on top-level security meetings

CA officials will meet with the country's top security and intelligence representatives later today to determine future of two-Test tour.

Cricket Australia's security entourage will meet with the upper echelons of Bangladesh's national security and intelligence services today in talks that will help to determine the future of the planned two-Test series. Following advice on from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and national security organisation ASIO that there was "reliable information to suggest that militants may be planning to target Australian interests", Cricket Australia postponed the team's trip.

CA's Anti-Corruption and Security Manager Sean Carroll, Bupa Support Team manager Gavin Dovey and team security manager Frank Dimasi are in Dhaka for high-level meetings to determine if the Qantas Tour of Bangladesh can proceed.

“There has been no change to the situation or our current position,” a CA spokesman said on Monday afternoon (AEST). “Our Head of Security has had a number of meetings with Bangladeshi government and cricket officials in Dhaka today.

“We are also continuing to liaise closely with the Australian government on the matter.”

Carroll has already met with Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan, vice-president Mahbubul Anam and chief executive Nizam Uddin Chowdhury at the Australian High Commission, where the administrators reiterated their views the country was a safe destination.

 

They have information that Australian interest is under threat but that is not confined to Bangladesh, it is also in other neighbouring countries.

-Hassan told reporters after meeting Carroll.

"This is their concern. But I have told them that Bangladesh is one of the safest places for cricket, especially now. "I don't belong to the security or the intelligence agencies.

I told them, 'If you need a clearer picture, you please talk to the intelligence.' CA's team will meet with officials from Bangladesh's Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, National Security Intelligence, the government's Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and various Bangladesh police departments, including the Special Branch and Detective Branch.

Bangladesh's administrative functions had shut down late last week as the country celebrated Eid-ul-Azha, the second largest Muslim festival. The celebrations passed without incident or violence and saw the country decked out in decorations with millions turning out on the streets. CA's executive general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, said the meetings would be a significant step.

"This is not one of the ones you want to get wrong. We want to make sure we do this properly and are not panicking," Howard told the Big Sky Breakfast radio show. "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 confirmed CA had reserved flights for the team to depart Australia on Tuesday night, with the team scheduled to play a three-day warm-up match in Fatullah starting on Saturday.

 

The advice we got was pretty direct against Australians and we want to make sure we're doing our due diligence. You just can't take these things lightly. We've bought ourselves 72 hours, but Cricket Australia is not going to put the players at risk.

Howard said there was no specific threat against the Australian cricket team, and previous visits to Bangladesh had been "fantastic".

"We toured Bangladesh in 2014 for the World Twenty20 tournament and it was a fantastic tour," Howard told SEN.

"There's nothing wrong with Bangladesh, it's just this threat we've got over the last couple of days. Howard said discussions had not yet reached the point where players had been offered the choice to tour or not, with CA preferring to wait until after the top-level security meetings.

"We have a track history of not forcing people to go," Howard said. "When the time comes and we've laid it all out and if people are still very nervous, we'll be wary of that."

Source : Cricket Australia



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