A week after Australia called off their tour to Bangladesh citing “security fears”, former Australia captain Ian Chappell has said the ICC needs to step in and coordinate security efforts. He also said he believed the decision might have been a “little different” had a similar situation arisen ahead of a tour to India.
“The ICC and the cricket boards need to set up a committee, which has a security background,” he said on his bi-weekly show Chappelli Calls It on ESPNcricinfo. “It’s got to get information from all the countries and relevant parties but by doing that you are taking it out of the hands of the individual boards, who look at different situations differently.”
Chappell said while it was easy to “say no” to a tour to Bangladesh, the prospect of “far greater ramifications” of a pull-out from India would make it “not so easy” to make a similar decision. “The obvious one is about India, they will be very reluctant not to tour India. If it was the IPL, for instance, and the decision was on the heads of the individual players, it would be interesting to see what decision was taken then.
“I guess it’s very hard to ignore government advice on matters of security,” Chappell said. “The question I would ask is if the same situation was occurring on a tour to India, what would happen then? That makes me wonder if the decision might have been a little different. As long as you have the individual countries making that decision, whether we will or we won’t, you’re always going to have a situation where you are going to say for a tour to Bangladesh, it’s pretty easy to say no. For a tour to India, not so easy to say no, because the ramifications are far greater.”
As the fate of the tour hung in the balance after Cricket Australia received specific information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade about a possible security risk to Australian interests in the country, the Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan assured that Australia would receive “unprecedented levels of security” if they made the trip.
Hassan went on to say: “Risks of untoward occurrences and threats are an unfortunate reality in today’s world and can happen anywhere. That is why we have placed utmost importance on preventive methods and action.” Chappell said he has sympathy for Hassan’s position and believes the episode should prompt the formation of a body that can make an independent assessment of a country’s security situation.
“Whoever is saying that is quite right, we have had some terrorist incidents in Australia in recent times, that is the way of the world at the moment,” he said. “At the 1996 World Cup, Australia were reluctant to go to Sri Lanka. They were guaranteed head-of-state type security, it even got to the point where they talked about flying them in in the morning and flying them out in the evening, and still Australia refused to partake in that game.”