Bangladesh Tour of Australia Cancelled

Australia have cancelled a tour which would have seen them host Bangladesh later this year. Bangladesh would have travelled to Australia to play two Test Matches and three ODI’s during the months of August and September. Being the back end of winter, this is not typically the time in which Australia hosts other nations, and the games were scheduled to be played in Northern Queensland and the Northern Territory, who don’t suffer through winter like the more southerly regions.

Why has this happened?

It appears, however, there were a number of problems with the proposed tour. Cricket Australia determined that the tour wouldn’t be ‘commercially viable’, largely a product of Australian free-to-air broadcasters lack of desire to televise the series. Bangladesh are obviously not the largest drawcard, but their vast improvement in recent years makes them a more than worthy opponent. 

The major reason for the disinterest from broadcasters is the competition they would face from other codes. During the winter months, large portions of Australia become fanatical about Australian Rules Football, the largest code in the nation, while the rest of the country closely follows the National Rugby League. These codes would give the Bangladesh tour competition which it would probably not be able to surpass, so it’s understandable there was some hesitation from broadcasters.

Indeed, it isn’t the first time Australia would have hosted out of season tours in the northern parts of the country, and according to the blunt assessment of Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland, the others haven’t been particularly successful. According to Sutherland, playing in Northern Australia ‘hasn’t been a great success’, and the competition against the NRL and the AFL means that the cricket gets ‘swamped’.

What now?

The proposed tour won’t simply be forgotten, and the two nations will likely work together to find an alternative which suits both parties. At present, the Bangladesh Cricket Board have ‘proposed some options’, and are waiting for feedback from Australia. According to ESPN Cricinfo, one of the leading contenders of these options is for Bangladesh to host Australia after the ODI World Cup in 2019.

Interestingly, the change to the schedule is the second Australia have either been forced to make, or chosen to make themselves, in the past few days. Earlier this month, India determined that they would not be ready to participate in the annual Adelaide day-night Test, and would rather play the test only during daytime hours. As a result, Cricket Australia were forced to alter the timing of this test, and, due to their commitment to playing at least one day-night test every summer, push back the start time of the Brisbane test against Sri Lanka early in 2019.

These changes represent a system in which proposed schedules are clearly not viewed with a great deal of respect. The ability for nations to change them when they are no longer suitable is one which predominantly benefits the more financially secure teams, with countries like Bangladesh obviously not in a position to cancel tours against the best teams in the world. With the introduction of the Test Championship late next year though, things will likely change.

Sutherland himself noted this fact, stating that the Championship will create an element of importance for every single game, and as a result no team will be in a position where it benefits them to cancel games or tours. 

As for 2018 though, Bangladesh will lose out on a tour that they presumably would have preferred to play in. Hopefully, the two sides can reach a conclusion that will compensate for the cancellation of this tour, and will result in one being played prior to the Test Championship.