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Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 11:34 UK

Australians commit to India tour

Australia captain Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting will lead his side on a four-Test tour of India

Australia's tour of India will go ahead after a security review recommended the players would be safe to travel to the country, despite recent bombings.

At least 20 people were killed and 90 injured when five devices went off in busy shopping areas around New Delhi last week.

"We have done a review and the advice has not changed since last week," said a Cricket Australia (CA) spokesman.

"The safety and security advice is, broadly speaking, to exercise caution."

More than 400 people have died since late 2005 in bombings in Indian cities.

Earlier this year Australia cancelled a tour of Pakistan and they were one of several nations to express fears over their hosting of the Champions Trophy this month, which led to the tournament being postponed until October 2009.

Why is Pakistan so different from India we want to know?

Pakistan Cricket Board official Shafqat Naghmi

The chief operating officer of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) expressed disappointment at what he called Australia's double standards.

"They couldn't accept our assurances they would be provided top security to play in Pakistan," said Shafqat Naghmi.

"But they have accepted Indian assurances and are willing to play in India which has also seen a series of bomb blasts in recent months at major cricket venues. Australia, in fact, would be playing a Test in Delhi.

"So why is Pakistan so different from India we want to know? In a way, we are glad they are going to India we hope they will now fulfil their commitment of touring Pakistan next April."

The CA spokesman said the problems in India were "completely different in intensity and of a different nature.

"We will have security in place around the senior team, which is what we always were going to have.

606: DEBATE
"In very broad terms the advice we have is in sharp contrast to what we had for Pakistan, which was that it was not safe to travel because the attacks there were targeting westerners."

CA consulted the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) and has arranged for an upgrade of security in and around the dressing rooms, while the team will be escorted to and from the grounds during the four-Test tour.

Players will still be allowed to venture outside of the team hotels "within prudent guidelines".

Australia's A team are already playing in India in a Tri-Series against New Zealand and India, and their manager Justin Sternes insisted there had been no sense of panic.

"For these young players getting a game in is more important than anything else - this series means a lot to them," he said.

Australia are set to leave for India on Sunday, starting the tour with warm-up matches in Jaipur and Hyderabad.

The first Test is scheduled to start in Bangalore on 9 October, with subsequent Tests in Mohali, Delhi and Nagpur.

Responsibility for the recent blasts was claimed by a Muslim militant group in an e-mail sent to Indian media outlets. The same group has claimed responsibility for two other bomb attacks in Jaipur and Bangalore.


FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
The Hindu Ponting backs CA's decision to tour India - 2 hrs ago
ABC Online Security may yet scupper India tour: Ponting - 8 hrs ago
Calcutta Telegraph ICC should change its rules: Ramiz - 12 hrs ago
London Review of Books Perry Anderson: After the Ottomans - 13 hrs ago
Press Trust of India ICC should change its rules, says Rameez - 18 hrs ago


see also
Suspects quizzed over Delhi bombs
14 Sep 08 |  South Asia
In pictures: Delhi blasts
13 Sep 08 |  In Pictures
Australia gamble on spin rookies
12 Sep 08 |  Cricket
Australia in India 2008
09 Apr 08 |  Cricket
Australia secure series whitewash
06 Sep 08 |  Australia
Sri Lanka wrap up series victory
11 Aug 08 |  Cricket


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