Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh’s captain in the abridged versions of the game, has urged English cricketers to tour his country for a two-match Test series and three One-Day Internationals in October. The England set-up will be provided with a security briefing on Thursday (August 25) by a three-member committee that returned back to the United Kingdom after assessing the conditions and stadiums in Bangladesh.
Safety concerns in Bangladesh were raised after a terror attack that took place in a Dhaka cafe on July 1 which had left 20 dead. In July, the ECB had noted that it would consider government’s guidelines about the proposed tour following the terror attack. Earlier in October 2015, Australia had decided against sending their senior side for two Tests after a terror threat while the Under-19 team also didn’t participate in the World Cup in January-February 2016.
“I would tell all the players to come to Bangladesh,” Mortaza stated. “I can assure you that you can play cricket here wholeheartedly. You don’t have to think of anything else. It will be a competitive series. Our friendship will get deeper if we play in this series. It is not just about the game. There are a lot of things connected to this series. We are hoping that they would come here to play. From what I have heard, our security forces are giving it the highest attention. I have confidence in them since we have hosted many big tournaments in the recent past.
“As a player I would urge for cricket to continue. These incidents are happening all over the world and if we postpone playing now, there will be a time when we would have to stop the game. We all have to keep our faith on the ECB team that visited recently as well as the two boards.”
This comes a day after Eoin Morgan, England’s limited-overs captain, stated that no player will be forced to go on any particular tour.
On his part, Mortaza said that he was hopeful England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) would be satisfied with the security arrangements in place. The veteran pacer also pointed out that the England Under-19 team didn’t have any issues when they participated in the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year.
“If some of the players have a friendly relationship, they may knock each other. But these things are mainly dealt by the boards, on whom we have to depend upon,” he said. “I believe that the ECB is taking it very seriously, and they will be satisfied with our security plan.
“England have been with us from day one and I believe they will be with us now as well. They sent their team to the U19 World Cup.”
Mortaza reckoned that the Bangladesh players’ body, the Cricketers’ Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB), might initiate discussions about the security cover to be provided with the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA).
“I think steps can be taken through our players association, because it does have an impact. Maybe our players’ body isn’t the strongest but I still feel that if there’s an opportunity, we can venture into that avenue too. A lot is at stake here.”