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Bangladesh decision not without precedent

Australia's postponed tour of the subcontinental nation just the latest series to be impacted by security threat

The postponement of Australia's tour of Bangladesh is the latest instance in recent years where security risks away from the cricket field have impacted the action on it.

1996 World Cup

The on-field ill-feeling between the Australian and Sri Lankan teams during the 1995-96 season, which stemmed from the no-balling of star Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralidaran, was put into perspective in the lead-up to the 1996 World Cup.

The bombing of the Colombo Central Bank by the Tamil Tigers, which killed 91 people and injured another 1400, just weeks before the tournament was due to begin led to Australia and West Indies forfeiting their scheduled group games against the Sri Lankans in Colombo.

Australia and Sri Lanka would eventually meet in the final, played the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, which Sri Lanka won by seven wickets.

Shane Warne ahead of the 1996 World Cup final // Getty

2002 Tour of Zimbabwe

Australia's scheduled two-Test tour of Zimbabwe in April 2002 was called off in late March due to security concerns.

The decision came after Prime Minister John Howard and Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer had urged a sporting boycott of Zimbabwe following the re-election of controversial President Robert Mugabe.

Australia did play a match in Zimbabwe during the 2003 World Cup – England had forfeited their group game in Harare due to security concerns – and a tour involving two Tests and three one-day internationals was rescheduled for 2004. 

But Mugabe's political opponents called for that tour to be abandoned as well as they claimed it would legitimise the Mugabe regime. The Australian government continued to publically oppose Mugabe – Howard led the charge to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth – but Cricket Australia denied there was any government pressure to cancel the 2004 tour.

Zimbabwean cricket then suffered a massive blow in April, 2004 when 13 white players went on strike amid claims selections had been based on a racial quota system rather than form.

Australian leg-spinner Stuart MacGill then withdrew from the tour on moral grounds, but his teammates travelled to Zimbabwe as planned for what was still scheduled to be a tour involving two Tests and three ODIs.

The Test series was then abandoned and Zimbabwe's participation in Test cricket was suspended. The three-match ODI series went ahead, with Australia winning convincingly against what was very much a second-string side, before returning home.

Australia's players arrive in Harare for what would be a shortened tour // Getty

2002 Tour of Pakistan

Australia abandoned their proposed three-Test tour of Pakistan in August 2002 following advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Australian High Commissioner in Pakistan and Mr Downer.

The decision was made two months before the series was scheduled to begin after leading players, including Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, had flagged their intention to withdraw from the tour.

The players' fears were heightened in May of that year when New Zealand abandoned their tour after a bomb blast outside their hotel in Karachi, which killed 12 people.

New Zealand had opted to travel to Pakistan despite the decision of the West Indies in January of that year to move their scheduled February series to the United Arab Emirates due to security fears.

Australia ultimately followed the West Indies' lead; they played two Tests against Pakistan in the UAE after the first Test was played in Colombo, which came just days after the completion of the 2002 Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.

Glenn McGrath in Sharjah celebrating his 400th Test wicket // Getty

2005 Ashes series

Just hours before England and Australia faced off in the first ODI in Leeds on July 7, 2005, a series of bomb blasts some 270km to the south rocked the UK capital and left 52 people dead and 700 injured.

While the world came to terms with the 7/7 attacks in London, England completed a comprehensive nine-wicket win and the cricket world's attention soon turned to the remaining matches of the series, which were due to be played in London.

It was decided the matches at Lord's and The Oval would go ahead as planned and the Test series that followed was also unaffected, even after a second co-ordinated bomb attack on the London Underground on July 21, which didn't cause any loss of life or serious injury.

But the remainder of the series was played amidst increased security at match venues, with fast bowler Jason Gillespie just one player to publically express his concern over the attacks.

Police outside the London Underground on July 7, 2005 // Getty

2008 Tour of Pakistan

Australia's 2008 Tour of Pakistan, which was to feature three Tests and five ODIs in April, was postponed a month before its scheduled start due to security concerns.

It came after several players, including allrounder Andrew Symonds, had expressed their safety fears after a period of violent instability in the country.

The two countries announced in February 2009 that the ODI leg of the tour would be played in the UAE in April and May that year, and the decision to take the matches away from Pakistan was seemingly justified six days later when the Sri Lankan team's bus was attacked outside Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, forcing a premature end to that series.

Australia won the ODI series in the UAE 3-2 and in June it was announced that a two-match Test series between the two sides would be played in England in July 2010.

That series was split 1-1; Australia won the first Test at Lord's by 150 runs before Pakistan bounced back to win the second Test at Headingley by three wickets.

James Sutherland announces the postponement of the 2008 Tour of Pakistan // Getty

OTHER


2008 Mumbai Attack

The series of co-ordinated terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 triggered a domino effect in the cricket world that impacted four teams and ultimately led to the Sri Lankan team's bus being attacked outside Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore four months later.

The attacks, which killed 164 people and left more than 600 injured, came during India's one-day international series against England, which was to be followed by Tests in Ahmedabad and Mumbai. England returned home following the attack and the final two ODIs of the seven-match series were cancelled, before the tourists returned in December for the Tests, which were moved to Chennai and Mohali.

The attack by a Pakistani terrorist group led to the decision from India in December to withdraw from their proposed tour of Pakistan in early 2009. Shortly afterwards, it was announced that Sri Lanka would tour in India's place and play three ODIs and two Tests.

The tourists won the ODI series 2-1 before the first Test in Karachi was drawn. Sri Lanka had the better of the first two days of the second Test and were in a strong position as they made their way to Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium on the morning of day three. It was there that the convoy was fired upon by 12 gunmen, an attack that killed six policemen, two civilians and injured six members of the Sri Lankan team.

It begun a six-year absence of senior men's international cricket in Pakistan – which included being stripped of co-hosting rights for the 2011 Cricket World Cup – due to security fears.

Pakistan's isolation from major cricket ended in May this year when Zimbabwe played three ODIs and two T20s in Lahore.

The series was the first time the majority of Pakistan's players had played an international match on home soil and was strongly attended by thousands of cricket-starved locals.

England's players prepare to leave India following the Mumbai attack // Getty