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Aussies will tour India

Although Saturday's serial blasts in the national capital raised some concerns, the tour of Australian Cricket team is set to proceed as scheduled.

cricket Updated: Sep 16, 2008 00:02 IST
HT Correspondent

The Australians are coming to India, bomb blasts or not. Although Saturday's serial blasts in the national capital raised some concerns, the tour is set to proceed as scheduled. While bombs may have gone off in India, it is clearly still considered much safer than Pakistan.

“We received an advisory on the security situation in India before the blasts happened, as we do before touring any country. We have spoken to the Australian government today, and that security advisory has not changed,” Peter Young, spokesperson for Cricket Australia, told the Hindustan Times. “Unless something happens between now and September 21, which is our scheduled departure date, and we get a new security advisory, we will travel as earlier planned.”

Australia are set to arrive in India on September 21 and head to Jaipur for a week of training and acclimatisation at the Rajasthan Cricket Association's academy. “I'm happy to say the tour will go on as planned,” said Young. Even after the blasts the Board of Control for Cricket in India has been confident that the tour would go on as planned. “The situation is normal and the Australian tour to India will go as per schedule,” Niranjan Shah, secretary of the BCCI had said.

Australia's decision to tour India will undoubtedly evoke a sharp reaction, across the border in Pakistan, where officials have been watching the unfolding situation with curiosity. “We remain sure that India will make the right kind of security arrangements and that Australia will tour them. And once this tour is done with, we can hope Australia do not come up with any pretext about not touring us next year,” Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer of the Pakistan Cricket Board, had said. The Australian government's travel advisory for Pakistan still maintains that it is a dangerous place to travel to. In the case of India, the Australian government urges its citizens to exercise a “high degree of caution.”

The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), however, has already made it clear that the Indian and Pakistani situations are separate, and should not be clubbed together. “People need to understand that our starting point is that we always wants to tour. We go to extreme lengths to obtain the best advice on the situation of each country we visit,” said Paul Marsh, the ACA chief. “In Pakistan's case this year, people we rely on told us not to tour. If they say not to tour again, we'll listen. Bombs going off anywhere are a concern.”

Australia play the first of four Tests in Bangalore starting on October 9. They will come to Delhi for the third Test on October 29.