Cricket Australia (CA) insists it remains committed to visiting Sri Lanka next month despite political unrest prompting the Australian government to suggest citizens ‘reconsider’ their need to travel to the island.
With three weeks to go before the men’s national team is scheduled to arrive in Colombo for a three-format tour, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has updated its travel advice for Sri Lanka after the crisis The country’s devastating economy sparked violence this week.
CA released a statement on Thursday suggesting that its plans for the six-week tour with matches in Kandy, Galle, Hambantota as well as the capital Colombo remain in place.
“We are monitoring developments in Sri Lanka closely and are in regular conversation with DFAT and Sri Lanka Cricket,” a spokesperson said.
“Our players and support staff have been informed and will continue to be kept informed. There are three weeks left before the team’s scheduled departure and at this stage there are no changes to the schedule.”
Amid shortages of fuel, food and medicine, mostly peaceful protests last month turned into violent clashes this week, leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
A curfew is in place and security forces have been ordered to shoot looters on sight.
DFAT’s ‘reconsider your need to travel‘ advice is the same as the advice in place for Pakistan, where Australia successfully completed three Tests and four time-limited matches in March-April, but with heavy provisions of security.
The men’s team also toured Bangladesh (in 2017 and 2021) when security was an issue. The only problem with either tour was when local children threw a rock at the Australian team bus in Chittagong during the second test in 2017, with no one injured in the incident.
CA’s Chief Security Officer, Stuart Bailey, visited Sri Lanka last month and cleared him to visit safely.
“Several violent incidents have taken place during major protests,” DFAT’s travel advice to Australians now says, updated on Wednesday. “Avoid demonstrations and events that attract large groups.
“Public protests continue to occur across Sri Lanka. They may also cause disruption to traffic and public transport.
“You may experience planned and prolonged fuel supply disruptions and power outages. Import delays may impact your ability to access certain medicines and food items.”
Australia have not toured Sri Lanka since 2016, when their men’s and women’s teams played matches on the island. An Australia A men’s team are also due to play four matches on the tour next month.
Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka, 2022
T20 Squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner, Matthew Wade
June 7: First T20, Colombo
June 8: Second T20, Colombo
June 11: Third T20, Kandy
The ODI team: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 14: First ODI, Kandy
June 16: Second ODI, Kandy
June 19: Third ODI, Colombo
June 21st: Fourth ODI, Colombo
June 24: Fifth ODI, Colombo
Test group: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 29 – July 3: First try, Galle
July 8-12: Second try, Galle
Australia A schedule
Team: Sean Abbott, Scott Boland, Pete Handscomb, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nic Maddinson, Todd Murphy, Josh Philippe, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, Mark Steketee
June 8: First Match of a Day, Colombo
June 10: Second match of a day, Colombo
June 14-17: First Class Tour Match, Hambantota
June 21-24: First Class Tour Match, Hambantota