Published On: Sat, Aug 27th, 2016

Strauss hopes for mass participation in Bangladesh tour

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‘A great duty of care from the board’ – Buttler

England’s players will be given time to consider their personal position on touring Bangladesh but Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket, hopes that there will be an en masse decision to undertake the trip.

Strauss had encouraged the players “not to leave anything unsaid” during the meeting in London on Thursday, where it was confirmed that the trip would take place as planned. He believes that it is “100% safe” to tour, following the advice of the ECB’s head of security Reg Dickason, and is eager for a collective spirit among the squad, even though he has opened his door for any player to have one-on-one meetings about any concerns.

The ECB, who will continue to monitor the situation in Bangladesh ahead of their departure on September 30, were given detailed information on the levels of security that will be provided in Dhaka, Chittagong and Fatullah, while the successful hosting of the Under-19 World Cup – for which England sent a team – also had a significant bearing on the decision.

“At no stage did we ask players whether they would make themselves available,” Strauss said. “We are not at that stage yet. I’m certainly hopeful that we can convince the players that it is safe to tour. I’m 100% convinced that is the case. I have the utmost confidence in Reg Dickason and his experience.

“My view is that the job of the ECB and Reg is to assure the players it is safe to go and, once they have that, I’m very hopeful that we’ll have all the squad coming together and saying ‘let’s go’ as a group.

“We can’t force anyone to go on any tour and nor would we want to. Our job is to assure them it is safe and if that’s the case there is no other reason to pull out of the tour. We will answer any questions they have and hopefully put any fears they have to bed.”

Strauss, along with Test captain Alastair Cook who also attended the meeting, were part of the England squad that returned to India for two Tests under the captaincy of Kevin Pietersen after the Mumbai attacks in 2008. Of current first-choice Test players, Stuart Broad and James Anderson – the latter who joined the team meeting via conference call – were also on that trip.

Although it may not be something on the minds of players as they try to decide whether to tour, England’s return to India generated a lot of goodwill and they will be warmly received in Bangladesh after the country feared they could see a widespread withdrawal of touring sides following Australia’s pull-out last year. Earlier this week, Bangladesh’s one-day captain Mashrafe Mortaza said: “Our friendship will get deeper if we play in this series. It is not just about the game.”

“I’ve been there before, I know this is an emotive topic, and for a lot of people they are going through it for the first time,” Strauss said. “It’s not easy and we appreciate what they are going through and that’s why it’s really important we give them the space and time to digest it all and ask any questions.

“There were a number of references to 2008 and what we went through. I don’t think it’s particularly relevant to say it will happen the same way, but those players who went through it before have a pretty good idea of how things will work.”

Using his experience of India, Strauss hoped that once the initial uncertainty had been overcome and the tour was underway that, even with the considerable security presence that will be around the team 24/7, from ground to hotel and back again, that the cricket will allow players to feel more at ease.

“Clearly when we went back to India there was a huge security presence around us but after the first few days you get back into cricket mode and are thinking about winning games. I can’t say for sure that will be the case in Bangladesh, but my experience is that it will be.”

Strauss also confirmed that himself, Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, and chairman Colin Graves will be going out to Bangladesh for various parts of the tour. The squads will be named shortly after the T20 against Pakistan next month.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo


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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.






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