Themorningbellbd.com desk, July 03: England’s tour to Bangladesh later this year is in major doubt after a terrorist attack by ISIS in Dhaka overnight left 20 dead in a cafe popular with westerners.
The England & Wales Cricket Board has issued a statement saying it will “take the appropriate steps” and call the tour off if security for the team is not guaranteed or the British government warns them it is not safe to travel.
England announced the itinerary for the Bangladesh tour only last week and are due to arrive in Dhaka on Sept 30 and will play three one-dayers and two Tests over five weeks.
The ECB’s security specialist, Reg Dickason, is now expected to travel to Bangladesh to review safety and security arrangement and his verdict will decide whether the tour goes ahead.
An ECB spokesman said: “The safety and security of our players and management is always of paramount importance to ECB and this applies to all teams representing England on overseas tours.
“We will continue to monitor and assess the situation in Bangladesh over the coming weeks and months and will undertake a thoroughgoing and robust pre-tour inspection of planned security arrangements for the England team.
“We will also continue to work closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office [FCO] and should our Director of Security, Reg Dickason, or the FCO, advise that the environment is not acceptably safe or the right measures not in place, we would take the appropriate steps.”
The ECB has to evaluate the security of not just the team but also supporters and media travelling on the tour.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its security status for Bangladesh on Saturday and warned British nationals not to gather in areas that could be targets for terrorists looking to attack westerners, and a travelling England team and its supporters would make a high profile target.
“Until further notice we specifically advise against visiting areas where foreign nationals are known to congregate such as public areas of International Hotels, large supermarkets, restaurants and clubs,” said the FCO.
No Britons have been confirmed among the casualties in an attack at a bakery in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter. Police stormed the cafe which is surrounded by embassies and international schools. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
Last year Australia pulled out of a tour to Bangladesh after attacks on westerners and their under-19s team did not play at a World Cup in the country a few months later.
If the England tour is cancelled there is the possibility of playing matches in the UAE, where Pakistan are based due to security issues in their country.
India remains another possibility with England heading there anyway for five Test matches as soon as the Bangladesh tour ends on Nov 1.
Source: The Telegraph