Australia today withdrew from the ICC Under-19 cricket World Cup in Bangladesh, claiming that the security threat in the country remains as high as it was when the senior team’s Test tour was postponed last year.
The under-19 World Cup is scheduled to start from January 27 and Australia’s withdrawal takes away quite a bit of sheen from the tournament given that the team from Down Under has won the trophy thrice in the past.
Australia’s senior men’s side had postponed their tour of Bangladesh in October due to security concerns and Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said it has been monitoring the situation in the country ever since.
He said that CA Head of Security Sean Carroll travelled to Dhaka last week with ICC security advisors to meet with relevant officials, consider the detailed event security plan and seek further travel advice from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade representatives based in Bangladesh.
“We have always maintained that the safety and security of Australian teams and officials is our number-one priority,” Sutherland said.
“For some time we have been working closely with ICC security advisors and monitoring the security situation in Bangladesh and have been keeping our players, officials and the players’ parents as up to date as possible.
“Regrettably, the advice from our Government suggests that the security threat to Australians travelling to Bangladesh remains as high now as it was when we postponed the Test team’s tour of that country late last year.
“Included in that is reliable information suggesting there is a high threat to Australian interests in Bangladesh and the knowledge that the Australian Government has authorised the dependants of posted diplomatic staff in Bangladesh to return home to Australia,” he added.
Sutherland said it was a difficult decision to make and apologised to fans and organisers for the inconvenience caused due to their withdrawal from the event.
“In the end, with all of the information and advice we have received, we feel we had no alternative other than to make this difficult decision,” he said.