Australia will play two Tests in Bangladesh in 2017

Australia are almost certain to tour Bangladesh for two Tests later this year unless further security issues arise in the meantime, Cricket Australia’s chief executive James Sutherland has said. Australia postponed their Test tour in October 2015 after receiving advice from the Australian government that there were “high risks” if they went ahead with the tour, and Australia also did not send a team to the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in early 2016.

At the time that the Test tour was postponed, the Australian government’s official travel warning stated that there was “reliable information to suggest that militants may be planning to target Australian interests in Bangladesh”. The wording of the official advice is now different, with a more general warning that militants may be planning to target “Western interests” rather than “Australian interests” specifically.

“I think they’re quite high,” Sutherland said on ABC radio when asked what were the chances of Australia touring Bangladesh in 2017. “What we saw at the end of last year was the England team tour Bangladesh. We certainly saw very strong security around the team. We actually sent our head of security, Sean Carroll, over to observe for seven or ten days, just to get a little bit of comfort on the systems and processes that were in place.

“Anything can happen between now and then, and we continue to monitor what’s happening in Bangladesh, but we work on the assumption that we’re going to play and we start to plan accordingly. But we certainly get a good deal of comfort from the way in which the security measures were put in place by the Bangladesh government, in conjunction with the cricket board over there. At the moment I would assume that we would be playing two Tests over there.”

Sutherland said that while no dates had yet be fixed for the tour, the likely time was in August or September. Australia have not played a Test series in or against Bangladesh since 2006, when Jason Gillespie famously made a double-century in Chittagong, although they did travel there for a three-match ODI series in April 2011, shortly after the World Cup.

“I think it is important for us,” Sutherland said of the tour. “The fundamental for us is that safety comes first, the safety of our players and officials, and all of that. We’ll make those judgments accordingly. At the same time, we have made decisions in the past to postpone a tour of Bangladesh. We were also the only team not to send a team to the Under-19 World Cup, which was held in Bangladesh not long afterwards.

“Whilst there’s pressure for us to get back on the horse, so to speak, and to travel to Bangladesh, we won’t be compromising anything in our reviews and understanding, and getting to a level of satisfaction that the security measures are appropriate and at the level we need and want.”