Bangladesh tour delay amid security concerns

Australia delay their departure for Bangladesh after government warns of security risk

Cricket Australia has delayed the departure of the nation's Test team to Bangladesh amid security concerns raised by the Australian government that militant groups may target Australian interests.

Australia's Test team, led by new skipper Steve Smith, had been due to depart their various home ports on Monday with the full squad not assembling until arrival in Dhaka.

Bangladesh reponds: 'No alarm' for security here

Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said that recent advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) had identified a potential security risk in Bangladesh.

"We have received advice from DFAT and based on that information we are working with security experts and the Bangladesh Cricket Board on a revised security plan for the tour," Sutherland said.

"We want the tour to go ahead and are planning for that, but the safety and security of our players and support staff is our number-one priority and won't be compromised.

"We will wait to receive updated security information early in the week before confirming the team's travel arrangements.

"In the meantime, we are working with the ACA and keeping our players and support staff fully informed."

DFAT issued its latest security advice about Bangladesh on Friday, saying there was "reliable information" of a threat to Australians.

"There is reliable information to suggest that militants may be planning to target Australian interests in Bangladesh," DFAT's website said. 

DFAT said Australians should "exercise a high degree of caution in Bangladesh due to the uncertain political and security situation".

The "exercise a high degree of caution" level of alert is second on DFAT's four levels of alert. The government raises the alert level to it's third tier - "reconsider your need to travel" - for the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, a politically unstable area that borders India and Burma and is two hours' drive from Chittagong city, venue of the first Test.

Australia featured in the World T20 in Bangladesh in 2014 - a victory against the hosts their only win - but have not toured the country for a bilateral series since three ODIs in 2011, and have not played a Test there since April 2006, when Jason Gillespie famously scored a double century as nightwatchman.

"Australians should be aware that normal travel in many parts of Dhaka is often not possible due to arbitrary acts of violence," DFAT warns.

"Bangladesh has experienced a number of terrorist incidents in the past and security agencies in Bangladesh continue to arrest people connected to terrorist organisations. Further attacks are possible, including against Western interests."

The government website also warns "political violence occurs regularly in Bangladesh" and said political violence in January of this year resulted in "violent incidents, including arson attacks took place across the country, resulting in death and injury".

Australia are scheduled to play a BCB XI in a three-day warm-up match starting October 3 in Fatullah before the first Test in Chittagong on October 9. The second Test, in Dhaka, is scheduled for October 17.

It is currently not known if the matches will go ahead as scheduled.

Bangladesh have hosted Zimbabwe, Pakistan, India and South Africa for Tests and limited-overs matches in the past 12 months without incident. South Africa's pace spearhead Dale Steyn joined in an impromptu game of street football with local youths during his visit to Chittagong in July.