The U-19 ICC Cricket World Cup, which is set to start on 27 January, has received a huge blow with three-time champions Australia withdrawing from the tournament due to security reasons. Australia were drawn alongside India, New Zealand and Nepal in Group D. In order to keep the event a 16-nation affair, the ICC have invited Ireland to come in the place of Australia.
Cricket Australia (CA) had also withdrawn Australia's senior team from their tour of Bangladesh in October last year, citing the same reason. Cricket boards all around the world always keep players safety as the top priority and likewise CA are concerned for the safety of their players. After consulting the issue with the Australia government, CA took the call.
"We have always maintained that the safety and security of Australian teams and officials is our number one priority," Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland said in a statement.
"For some time we have been working closely with ICC security advisors and monitoring the security situation in Bangladesh and have been keeping our players, officials and the players' parents as up to date as possible."
"Regrettably, 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 of that country late last year.
"Included in that is reliable information suggesting there is a high threat to Australian interests in Bangladesh."
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), who were relatively unhappy when Australia decided to withdraw their senior team in October, will not pleased with this decision either, as the BCB have promised top security to all participating teams in the competition.
"We have not taken this decision lightly and we apologise for the inconvenience this may create for the organisers of the tournament - in particular the ICC and BCB (Bangladesh Cricket Board)."