Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland gave indications here on Friday that the second Test in Hyderabad would go ahead as planned.

There had been apprehension in certain quarters that the second Test, beginning on March 2, might be shifted due to security reasons following the twin blasts on Thursday.

“We will take advice from the relevant authorities and work with the BCCI and others here to make assessments around Hyderabad, but at the same time, plans have been in place for a long time and at this stage I wouldn’t be calling into question things going ahead in Hyderabad as planned. As far as I am concerned, we are playing the second Test in Hyderabad next week.”

He said the Australians were intent on keeping their focus on cricket. “Obviously it (the blasts) is sad news. From our perspective, the focus around the team is very much on this Test in Chennai, everyone is very comfortable here in terms of the security arrangements in place,” he said.

Sutherland said: “It only happened last (Thursday) night. The players have been spoken to and received messages updating them on what is going on. We don’t hold anything back from the players, they know where everything is up to. But at the same time they have expressed a desire to be focused on cricket.”

Sutherland said he would work together with the cricketers and the players’ association on the issue. “There is a high level of confidence amongst the group that management will work through this. We will communicate openly and make assessments,” he said.

Risk factor

Queried about the risk factor in Hyderabad, Sutherland replied, “There is nothing that is any different to anywhere else. That is where we have expert advice from the Australian Government and our own independent sources. This, then, works in with what the relevant authorities here have. We have great confidence in the BCCI to be able to prepare the best possible measures to deal with whatever issues that may arise. I had a conversation with a BCCI official last night (Thursday night) but it’s only just happened, there was nothing formal.”

He said: “The BCCI has taken action here to make sure security is at the right level and we are comfortable with everything so far on this tour. The authorities do this on a mobile basis, moving according to circumstances.”

Sutherland denied rumours that the Australian cricketers were apprehensive about playing in Hyderabad.

“Let’s not go into the area of players saying they don’t want to go. All they are interested in now is this Test match in Chennai and they will leave the other matters to the management. Having said that, we will give them (the players) the benefit of our knowledge and understanding. First and foremost they are focused on the cricket.”

PTI adds from New Delhi

Test not to be shifted

The BCCI on Friday made it clear that the second Test would go ahead as per schedule in Hyderabad since the State Government had assured safety and security of the players.

The visiting Australian players and officials had expressed concerns but the BCCI assured them all safety measures would be in place.

Senior BCCI official Rajeev Shukla said they saw no reason to shift the Hyderabad Test, scheduled to begin from March 2, from the city.

“After the BCCI president spoke to me, I spoke to the Union Home Secretary, who was in Hyderabad and had discussions with the Chief Minister and State government officials. After that he apprised me that adequate security would be provided to the players as well as the spectators,” Shukla told reporters outside Parliament House.

Shukla, who is also IPL Chairman, said BCCI President N. Srinivasan would speak to the Cricket Australia chairman to assure him of adequate security to the players.

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