Cricket Australia (CA) is concerned about Australia’s upcoming tour of India and urgently seeking security advice after bomb attacks in New Delhi killed 20 people overnight.
Captain Ricky Ponting’s 15-man squad departs on September 21 and the third Test of the four-match series is scheduled to start in New Delhi on October 29.
“We are concerned and saddened about the news that there has been these bombings overnight in New Delhi,” CA public affairs manager Peter Young told AAP today.
“Whenever something like this happens we have a formal process that we invoke and we do that in conjunction with the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA).
“New Delhi is still a fair way off but it’s obviously a concern.
“We’ll get some specialist advice and seek to understand what’s going on and what the risks are.”
Almost 100 people were injured in a string of co-ordinated bomb attacks that ripped through busy shopping areas in the Indian capital.
The blasts hit five crowded areas of New Delhi within 45 minutes and were claimed by a Muslim militant group calling itself the ‘Indian Mujahideen’.
CA will ask security expert Reg Dickason to help compile a report this week.
The Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Australian High Commissioner in New Delhi and the Indian cricket Board (BCCI) will also be consulted, Young said.
ACA chief executive Paul Marsh said today the players’ representative body would be guided by expert advice.
“We don’t make these calls ourselves. We are relying on a report from Reg (Dickason),” Marsh told AAP.
“It was deemed safe enough for the Australia A tour (earlier this month).
“The threat level in India is different to Pakistan. You only have to look at the DFAT website.
“You’ve got to understand there is a big difference between the two countries.”
Young said a decision had not been made yet on whether Dickason needed to make a dash to India to compile this week’s report.
CA had already completed a pre-tour visit last month as part of its normal procedures.
“One way or the other he’s an expert in this area. He’d be one of the people we’d be asking advice from,” Young said.
“He was very closely involved in the recent issues with cricket and Pakistan.
“I don’t think we have any concerns about going to India. But we need to understand the detail relating to New Delhi.”
Australia pulled out of a Pakistan tour earlier this year and also expressed safety fears ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy tournament which was due to be held in Pakistan this month.
The tournament was eventually postponed for a year after pressure from several nations including Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
BCCI officials are hoping Australia’s reluctance to tour Pakistan this year doesn’t extend to their sub-continental neighbours.
“The blasts are a concern, but I don’t think it will have an impact on the Australian tour,” Indian cricket board secretary Niranjan Shah told reporters.
Members of the Rajasthan Royals team, including captain Shane Warne, were in Jaipur for the Indian Premier League earlier this year when seven bombs killed at least 63 people.
“Up until today that (Jaipur) has not been a concern. The situation overnight though demands we have a second look at what’s going on,” Young said.
The Australia squad will assemble in Jaipur on September 22.
New Delhi is host city for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.