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Australia's postponement of tour must not affect Bangladesh cricket badly

The cricketing world must realize that the terrorists and their threats must not dominate world cricket and hurt the passionate fans.

Cricket Australia’s Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland

October was supposed to be the month of cricket festival in Bangladesh. The ardent followers of Bangladesh cricket were excited about the clash between the Tigers and Australia who were supposed to play a two-match Test series from October 9.

Bangladesh, whose recent form has been brilliant in 2015, were all set to take a new-look Australian side lead by Steve Smith. But, all of a sudden, the festive mood of the Bangladesh cricket fans was spoiled when Cricket Australia (CA) delayed their team’s departure due to security concerns. The Australian team was supposed to arrive in Dhaka, last Sunday.

CA’s chief executive, James Sutherland, stated, “We have received advice from DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and based on that information we are working with security experts and the Bangladesh Cricket Board on a revised security plan for the tour. 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’s Smartraveller website often advises general caution while traveling in Asia, but the advice of last Friday “militants may be planning to target Australian interests” was quoted “unusually specific” by ESPNcricinfo’s assistant editor Brydon Coverdale, who then went on to state, “There is no such specific wording listed in the travel advice for neighbouring countries in the region”.

CA took the matter seriously and sent their security manager Sean Caroll to observe the security status of Bangladesh. Sean was supposed to meet the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) officials on last Sunday ahead of their further meeting with the Bangladesh Govt officials, the police and security officials from the next day.

Sean Carroll was assured of a foolproof security by the BCB boss and Sean and his men, who were expected to arrive in Dhaka on Sunday night, were supposed to sit with DGFI (Directorate General of Forces Intelligence), the NSI (National Security Intelligence), SB (Special Branch), DB (Detective Branch) and Home Minister accordingly.

Nazmul Hassan was upbeat over the tour after security guarantees, but tragedy struck when an Italian national in Dhaka was murdered on Monday during the stay of CA’s security team in Dhaka. Things became worse when a terrorist group claimed the responsibility of the murder.

The Bangladesh Government and the Italian officials have agreed that there is no involvement of a terrorist group in the killing of that Italian national and how legitimate is the claim of that terrorist group is still under investigation.

But, the incident led CA to step back further and the BCB was left stunned by the departure of security officials, Dimasi and Dovey, from Bangladesh on last Tuesday - the Bangladesh board had expected the two officials to remain in the country until the Australian team arrived.

CA delayed their decision a few more days and on first October, they officially postponed the tour.

Australia must not forget that they also have a bad history of terrorist attacks: Series of bombings of Asian restaurants and businesses, political violence, murder of a suspected informant and other acts targeted at intimidating the Asian population by the West Australian Neo-Nazi group led by Jack van Tongeren throughout the 80s.

The bombing of the Israeli Consulate and Hakoah Club in Sydney occurred on 23 December 1982, Israeli consulate and Hakoah Club Bombing in 1982, Melbourne Police station and Turkish consulate bombing in 1986, Abortion Clinic attack in 2001, Endeavour Hills Stabbings and Sydney Hostages crisis in 2014 etc.

In contrast, Bangladesh is yet to experience such terrible incidences and despite the political unrests in 2013 and 2014, Bangladesh arranged mega-events and bi-lateral series with great distinction. This year, Bangladesh hosted Pakistan, India and South Africa without any ugly incidents and players like Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn were seen to play cricket and football freely with the fans on the street.

How safe is the world from terrorism? How safe is the people of the world from terrorists? Which country is not at risk of terrorist attacks? Should the life be stagnant because of such threats? CA and the rest of the cricketing world must realize that the terrorists and their threats must not dominate world cricket and hurt the passionate fans.

At present, Bangladesh neither have any political unrests nor she is at risk of any terrorist attacks and for which, Australia’s postponing of the tour has been a major blow for the Bangladesh cricket fraternity.

But, the whole saga must not break the morale of Bangladesh cricket. BCB must be careful that postponing of the tour should not make Bangladesh cricket stagnant. They need to dish out a dynamic strategy so that Bangladesh cricket is not affected badly.

First of all, BCB needs to galvanize its diplomatic policies. They need to understand how to apply an effective plan to strengthen relationships with other Cricket Boards. Bangladesh must realize that they have lesser friends in international cricket and for which they need to learn how to make friends and not enemies.

Secondly, they need to appoint the right people for the right job. The time has come to shun nepotism and engage the best persons in the job who are eligible to interact with the international officials smartly. People who have no knowledge about cricket and interested more in mixing cricket with non-cricketing issues should be kept away from cricket.

Lastly, the Bangladesh Government and BCB must take sterner steps against those who give insensible remarks in print and electronic media. Insensible remarks are venomous and act as a big hurdle in further progression.

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