Oz tour set to go ahead despite blasts

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{image-australian cricket_15092008.jpg news.oneindia.in}Sydney, Sep 15: The Australian squad is expected to leave for their four-Test tour of India on September 19 despite heightened security concerns after serial bomb blasts ripped through New Delhi on Saturday.

Responding to criticism that the world champions are ready to tour India despite the fourth such incident in five months while refusing to visit Pakistan for the Champions Trophy, Australian Cricketers Associations (ACA) chief executive Paul Marsh said,''the threat assessment for India has been considerably lower than that of Pakistan.'' The latest bombings have prompted Cricket Australia (CA) to commission an urgent report from its long-term security advisor to review the safety situation in India before its team's tour begins on October 9.

''We want to find out if the latest bombings will change that in any way and what our independent experts think about our Australia A players being over there at the moment,'' Marsh added.

''As always we'll rely on the advice of the experts. Our primary concern at the moment is the A team being over there and trying to get an idea whether it's an acceptable risk for them to stay.'' Australia is scheduled to play in three of the cities which have been the target of terrorist bombings in recent months. They will spend the first week in Jaipur preparing at Greg Chappell's Rajasthan Cricket Academy, before the first Test in Bangalore from October 9 and the third Test in New Delhi from October 29.

There will also be a four-day tour match in Hyderabad early next month leaving only the second Test venue, Mohali, and fourth Test location, Nagpur, unaffected by recent bombings.

Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association have asked for urgent reports from their security advisers, which are expected to be presented today or tomorrow. CA has engaged regular security consultant Reg Dickason and will consult the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, the Australian High Commission in New Delhi and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).


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