Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket, is optimistic that the English players will agree in unison to tour Bangladesh. However, the former England captain added that the cricketers will be given time to assess the situation and, if needed, he is ready to have one-to-one discussions with any player who has concerns about touring Bangladesh.
An England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) delegation, led by security adviser Reg Dickason, recently visited both Bangladesh and India to make their security assessment. After getting a green signal from the security team, the ECB held a meeting with the players, including Alastair Cook and Eoin Morgan, on Thursday (August 25), before announcing that the three One Day Internationals (ODIs) and two Tests which England are due to play in Bangladesh in October and November were set to go ahead as scheduled.
“At no stage did we ask players whether they would make themselves available,” Strauss said. “We are not at that stage yet. I’m certainly hopeful that we can convince the players that it is safe to tour. I’m 100% convinced that is the case. I have the utmost confidence in Reg Dickason and his experience. My view is that the job of the ECB and Reg is to assure the players it is safe to go and, once they have that, I’m very hopeful that we’ll have all the squad coming together and saying ‘let’s go’ as a group.
“We can’t force anyone to go on any tour and nor would we want to. Our job is to assure them it is safe and if that’s the case there is no other reason to pull out of the tour. We will answer any questions they have and hopefully put any fears they have to bed,” he added.
Incidentally, back in 2008, England had returned to India to play a two-match Test series after the ODI series was cut short by a terrorist attack that took place in Mumbai. It had created goodwill between the two nations. Strauss referred to England’s tour of India, and hoped that the upcoming series against Bangladesh would also turn out to be a good experience for the players.
“I’ve been there before, I know this is an emotive topic, and for a lot of people they are going through it for the first time. It’s not easy and we appreciate what they are going through and that’s why it’s really important we give them the space and time to digest it all and ask any questions,” Strauss said. “There were a number of references to 2008 and what we went through. I don’t think it’s particularly relevant to say it will happen the same way, but those players who went through it before have a pretty good idea of how things will work.”
“Clearly when we went back to India there was a huge security presence around us but after the first few days you get back into cricket mode and are thinking about winning games. I can’t say for sure that will be the case in Bangladesh, but my experience is that it will be,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nazmul Hassan, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president, has said that the board will make adequate security arrangements for journalists and fans who are expected to tour the country.
“We will make sure that not just the players but their family members, fans and the reporters will get security in the stadium and hotel,” he said. “They have to inform us where they are staying and contact us. We believe that there won’t be any problem with regards to this England tour.
“The Barmy Army had contacted us and we immediately told the Bangladesh high commission to ensure that their visas aren’t delayed. We also asked for a list of those who are coming so that we can help them out,” Hassan said.