Australia to go ahead with its India tour

September 15th, 2008 - 2:43 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Sept.15 (ANI): The 15-member Australian cricket team will go ahead with its four-Test tour of India.
The squad is expected to leave on Sunday as scheduled despite five bombs killing up to 30 and injuring more than 90 in New Delhi on Saturday night, reports The Australian.
New Delhi is the fourth Indian city to be targeted by a series of Islamic terrorist bombings in five months, with as many as 150 deaths reported.
Australia is scheduled to play in three of those cities, spending the first week in Jaipur preparing at Greg Chappell’’s Rajasthan Cricket Academy, before the first Test in Bangalore from October 9 and the third Test in New Delhi from October 29.
There will also be a four-day tour match in Hyderabad early next month leaving only the second Test venue, Mohali, and fourth Test location, Nagpur, unaffected by recent bombings.
Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association have asked for urgent reports from their security advisers, which are to be presented today or tomorrow.
Cricket Australia has engaged regular security consultant Reg Dickason and will consult the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, the Australian High Commission in New Delhi and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Despite the upsurge in terrorism the situation is not considered anywhere near as bad as Pakistan.
Four of cricket’’s major nations, including Australia, refused to play the Champions Trophy in Pakistan this month for safety and security reasons.
There was criticism that players who were prepared to honor lucrative contracts with the Indian Premier League despite a major terrorist bombing in Jaipur last May which killed 60, would not tour Pakistan.
Tim May, chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) was annoyed by the criticism and said it was unfair to compare the Jaipur bombing to the situation in Pakistan.
“Pakistan has had 66 suicide bombings within its country over the past 12 months with over 3000 people killed and 17 of those attacks had been in the venues of the Champions Trophy,” May said.
The DFAT travel advice for both countries is clearly different.
For India the DFAT advice is to exercise a high degree of caution but with Pakistan it says reconsider travelling to the country because of specific terrorist threats against western targets.
Australia’’s embassies in Lahore and Karachi have been closed until further notice for safety and security reasons.
ACA chief executive Paul Marsh was attempting to contact independent security advisers and the Australian Government for updated advice.
“The threat assessment for India has been considerably lower than that of Pakistan,” Marsh said yesterday.
“We want to find out if the latest bombings will change that in any way and what our independent experts think about our Australia A players being over there at the moment.
“As always we”ll rely on the advice of the experts. Our primary concern at the moment is the A team being over there and trying to get an idea whether it’’s an acceptable risk for them to stay.”
The BCCI believes the tour will continue. (ANI)

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