Australia pull out of Under-19 Cricket World Cup

The Sher-e-Bangla cricket stadium
The Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium in Dhaka will host the tournament final

Australia have pulled out of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup, which starts in Bangladesh later this month, because of safety and security concerns.

Cricket Australia (CA) postponed the Test team's tour of Bangladesh for safety reasons in October.

"Safety and security of Australian teams and officials is our number one priority," said CA chief executive James Sutherland.

Ireland have been invited to replace Australia in the tournament.

England and Scotland are still scheduled to take part in the event which is due to run from 27 January-14 February.

Sutherland said that since the postponement of the Test tour, they had monitored the security situation closely with head of security Sean Carroll travelling to Dhaka.

Groups for Under 19 Cricket World Cup
Group A: South Africa, Bangladesh, Scotland, NamibiaGroup B: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Canada
Group C: England, Fiji, Zimbabwe, West IndiesGroup D: India, New Zealand, Nepal, Ireland (TBC)

"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," he said.

"Included in that is reliable information suggesting there is a high threat to Australian interests in Bangladesh. With all of the information and advice we have received, we feel we had no alternative other than to make this difficult decision."

The ICC said that while they were disappointed with Australia's decision to pull out, they insist it remains appropriate for the tournament to take place.

"The ICC takes its responsibilities around the safety and security of our events extremely seriously," said chief executive David Richardson.

"Taking into consideration the full and unequivocal support of the Bangladesh government that has been afforded to us at the highest level and through all local security agencies, the advice we have received from our own and independent security experts, and the robust security plan that has been developed, the ICC remains of the view the it is appropriate for event planning to continue as scheduled."

England are due to tour Bangladesh to play two Tests and three one-day internationals in October and November 2016.

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