Bangladesh Tests in spotlight as MOU drags | cricket.com.au

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Bangladesh Tests in spotlight as MOU drags

As a CA delegation receives a secruity briefing in Dhaka there are growing concerns slow progress in talks could impact the tour

Fears are growing that Australia's Test tour of Bangladesh could become a critical pressure point in the protracted negotiations over a new Memorandum of Understanding between Cricket Australia and players.

Australia's Test stars resolved on Monday to attend a week-long training camp in Darwin from August 10 ahead of the two-Test tour. Yet at that same meeting they reiterated an earlier pledge they would not board the flight to the subcontinent seven days later unless terms had been agreed between the governing body and the players' union, the Australian Cricketers Association.

Australia are due to play a two-day tour match in Fatullah from August 22 with the first Test in Dhaka from August 27.

The logistics behind Australia's first Test tour of Bangladesh since 2006, where the visiting side has been promised a security detail worthy of a visit by a head of state, is unlikely to be able to accommodate uncertainty over the tour until the last minute.



The Australia A tour to South Africa was cancelled less than 48 hours before players were due to depart earlier this month for a series of first-class and one-day matches that was to act as a selection trial for the vacant pace bowler's berth on the Bangladesh tour, as well as a performance guide to future series in India, Australia (including the five-Test Ashes summer) and South Africa.

A CA security delegation was in Dhaka today where Bangladesh media reported officials were "happy and satisfied" with the arrangements made to secure the safety of Australia's cricketers.

"They (CA officials) are happy and satisfied with our security plan," Bangladesh National Police chief Shahidul Haque told local media after a briefing at the force's headquarters.

"We are hopeful that the tour will proceed as per scheduled We have tried to fulfil all their requirements as far as security is concerned and are ready to welcome them by providing top-level security."

Read more: Test players reaffirm stance on MOU

It is understood CA are anxious to further the progress made in negotiations over the past fortnight and are confident once the major sticking point of player payments is resolved, the rest will fall into place relatively quickly with much of the remaining 700-plus pages of the MOU to carry over, with the addition of gender neutral language and inclusion of women cricketers for the first time.

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has been in constant contact with his ACA counterpart Alastair Nicholson, last meeting in person for talks on Sunday in Melbourne. There has been no face-to-face meetings since with Nicholson in Sydney for Monday's players meeting.

That meeting came after CA officials were left "perplexed" and "bemused" last Saturday when the union wrote to players warning the weeks of negotiations were at risk of regressing 'back to square one' just hours after productive talks had taken place.

Read more: MOU talks continue after 'concocted crisis'

That has furthered rising fears among administrators the union may be deliberately dragging the chain to put pressure on deadlines for the Bangladesh tour.

News Corp reported the ACA had flatly rejected the idea negotiations were being stalled by players, pointing to the "peace plan" they produced last week, and claiming email and telephone contact between the CEOs was not an inhibitor to negotiations continuing.