‘This is the gold standard’
England flew out of Bangladesh today after more than a month of exciting cricket during a three-match ODI and two-match Test series and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) extended their gratitude to the ‘sensational’ people of Bangladesh on their website (www.ecb.co.uk).
Security chief Reg Dickason, who had dominated headlines as he arrived to carry out security inspections on the ECB’s behalf, said the arrangements made were the best he has seen in his 20 years of working in cricket.
“I’ve been working in international sport for 20 years and what you’ve seen here, and the government input, is as good as I’ve ever seen,” said Dickason. “It’s certainly the gold standard at the moment.
The build-up had been dominated by security concerns following a terrorist attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka in July, and speculation over whether the England team would or should travel.
But Dickason had already been impressed by Bangladesh’s successful delivery of the ICC Under-19 World Cup earlier in the year and after a further fact-finding trip, he reassured the England players and officials that there was no reason the tour could not go ahead.
“The story probably starts with the risk assessment we did in December for the Under-19 World Cup which was held here in January. The main purpose of that was to see if it was safe for that event to go ahead, and we deemed it was.
“We came out here and saw what the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the government was actually going to provide. We had the documents, but we wanted to see what they were going to do. That went very well, and they did everything they said they were going to do.
“Then on July 2, there was the tragic attack on the Holey Bakery, so again we were in a position where we had to consider what the level of security should be for this tour.
“I came out again with John Carr and David Leatherdale, and we met with all the stakeholders – the Board, the police, intelligence authorities, three overseas diplomatic missions, and the Prime Minister. So based on what we were told, and what we had witnessed in the Under-19s World Cup, with some degree of confidence we decided this tour should go ahead. That was the recommendation.
“I’m always concerned, I’m conservative by nature, and there’s a fairly heavy responsibility with people’s safety. We got out just before the team and with the help of the Bangladesh Cricket Board we made sure things were going to be done exactly as they said they were. We’ve been very happy with the level of security.”
Dickason also thanked the Bangladesh people for putting up with the disruptions to their lives due to the security, which saw roads being blocked off completely while the English players and officials made trips to stadiums and back.
“It is a sacrifice,” he added. “We’ve probably inconvenienced them. Certainly our players and our tour group are very conscious of that – that’s why you’ll find we’re always on time. If we’re a minute late we’ll probably inconvenience another 100,000 people. But the Bangladeshi people have been absolutely sensational.”