Sports

SYDNEY (Web Desk) – Australia have pulled out of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup because of safety and security concerns.

Cricket Australia (CA) postponed the Test team’s tour of Bangladesh for safety reasons in October.

“Safety and security of Australian teams and officials is our number one priority,” said CA chief executive James Sutherland.

Ireland have been invited to replace Australia in the tournament.

England and Scotland are still scheduled to take part in the event which is due to run from 27 January-14 February.

Sutherland said that since the postponement of the Test tour, they had monitored the security situation closely with head of security Sean Carroll travelling to Dhaka.

“Muslim-majority Bangladesh faces what appears to be a growing threat of militant violence and has seen a string of incidents last year including the shooting of three foreigners, two of whom died.

The International Cricket Council said preparations for the Jan 22 to Feb 14 tournament were continuing and Ireland had been invited to replace Australia.

“Whilst the ICC notes and respects the position of Cricket Australia…we are obviously disappointed with the decision,” chief executive David Richardson said in a statement. “The ICC takes its responsibilities around the safety and security of ICC events extremely seriously…and remains of the view it is appropriate for event planning to continue as scheduled.”

Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hassan told Reuters Australia´s withdrawal was “unfortunate”.

“We are ensuring highest security,” he said. “We don´t see any security issues in Bangladesh. You just can’t stop games considering one or two incidents. Terror attacks are happening everywhere in the world. But games are taking place.”