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NZ rushes in where Australia fears to tread

Cricket

New Zealand’s under-19 cricketers will still compete in the World Cup in Bangladesh despite their Australian counterparts pulling out because of security concerns.

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The New Zealand team will depart today to prepare for the tournament, which starts on January 27.

NZ Cricket boss David White says it has been working with authorities to minimise the risk.

“We’re monitoring this on a daily basis and working closely with the ICC [International Cricket Council] and the agencies in Bangladesh,” he told RNZ.

White said the decision by Cricket Australia was driven by advice from its government, warning of a threat against its citizens.

“We’re comfortable at this stage with the security protocols that have been put in place. There will be a security bubble placed around all competing teams at venues enforced by the police, the government and all the armed forces.”

The ICC says its security manager and an independent security agency have been working with the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the Bangladesh security agencies to mitigate the risks.

“It remains appropriate for the event to continue as planned,” it said.

Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland says the security fears that forced the postponement of a tour by the senior side in October remain.

“The advice from our government suggests that the security threat to Australians travelling to Bangladesh remains as high now as it was when we postponed the Test team’s tour,” Sutherland said.

“Included in that is reliable information suggesting there is a high threat to Australian interests in Bangladesh…we feel we had no alternative other than to make this difficult decision.”

New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Safetravel website says there is a threat of terrorism in Bangladesh.

“Bangladeshi authorities continue to arrest individuals connected to terrorist or militant groups. Attacks could occur at any time in public places or in areas frequented by foreigners,” it said.

It details two deaths of foreigners in recent months that Islamic State claimed responsibility for.

“New Zealanders in Bangladesh are advised to exercise a high degree of security awareness in public and crowded places,” the website says.

The Australians will still take part in a tri-series against New Zealand and Pakistan in Dubai this month.

Ireland has been invited by the ICC to replace Australia in the under-19 tournament.

-AAP

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