Australia’s cricket authorities are hopeful that a Bangladesh tour due to start in less than a month will go ahead despite a player rebellion over pay, a senior team official said. The scheduled two-Test series has been placed in jeopardy by the long-running dispute, which has pitted Australia’s top cricket stars against the game’s governing body.
“There is obviously a lot of work to be done. But we are hopeful and optimistic that the tour will go ahead,” Gavin Dovey, Australia cricket team manager said in the Bangladesh city of Chittagong late on Thursday.
The fate of the series depends on the resolution of a revenue sharing deal between Cricket Australia and players. An Australia A tour of South Africa has already been cancelled because of the dispute. Cricket Australia said on Thursday it will take the bitter row to independent arbitration if an agreement cannot be reached by early next week.
Dovey made his remarks at the end of a four-day tour by a Cricket Australia team to inspect facilities and security arrangements in the South Asian nation. The team visited the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong which is to host the second Test from September 4-8. Australia are scheduled to arrive Bangladesh on August 18. The first Test is at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on August 27-31.
Australia have not played a Test in Bangladesh since Ricky Ponting’s team visited in 2006, six years after Bangladesh were granted Test status.
They were due to play two Tests in Bangladesh in October 2015 but the tour was cancelled amid security fears after attacks by Islamist extremists in the Muslim-majority nation. Australia refused to send their team to last year’s Under-19 World Cup in Dhaka over security worries. Bangladesh hosted England last year, drawing the Test series 1-1.
“We were very disappointed not to come in 2015 but obviously the safety and security of the players and the team is paramount, irrespective of whether we tour to Bangladesh or anywhere else in the world,” Dovey said. Bangladesh has promised head-of-state style security for Australia’s cricketers this time.