In another blow for the smaller Test nations, Australia have called off the Bangladesh two-Test tour this year because it is ‘not financially viable’.
The ICC’s Future Tours Program (FTP) had Australia down to play two Tests and three ODIs at home against Bangladesh in August and September, their first bilateral tour Down Under since 2003. Bangladesh scored a famous win over Australia in Dhaka last year.
However, the trip was scrapped because Australian free-to-air broadcasters are understood to be uninterested in televising the series in the middle of the football season.
One of the alternative options discussed, apparently, was Australia touring Bangladesh after the 2019 World Cup. The BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury stated: ‘We have proposed some options and are now waiting for their response.’
James Sutherland, the CA chief executive, explained the cancellation was related to the timing of the series, plus the fact that apart from India, England and South Africa, the rest of the world’s cricket nations including Bangladesh only play Australia sporadically, particularly during the southern summer.
‘The way in which everything works in cricket is that it’s really at the home team’s discretion to work things out as to how much they want to host and what they want to host,’ Sutherland said. ‘There’s obviously an element of reciprocity between what we do, we do that with England, India and South Africa.
‘We commit to contend in other parts of the world under the previous or current cycle, every six years you are at least committed to playing away, but we don’t have to play at home or we can vary the programme at home according to our needs and I think we just got squeezed a little bit.
‘To be honest it hasn’t been a great success, playing in the past as we have in northern Australia. Even more so now with the rise of the profile of the football codes, particularly NRL and AFL, it just means we get swamped and it doesn’t make sense. Besides the huge cost to play up there and getting broadcasters and what have you to pick it up, just makes it difficult.’
Bangladesh will not be so shabbily treated when the Test Championship starts in the second half of 2019. From that point, Australia and all other nations will be compelled to host the teams they are drawn against.