England's tour as planned
It was a burning question, an issue that had been bothering Bangladesh's cricket fans for the last one-and-a-half months. Would England stick to the schedule and tour Bangladesh in October this year? Or would they follow Australia's path and postpone the series due to security concerns?
The answer arrived late on Thursday night following a meeting between England's players, officials from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and members of the security delegation which visited Dhaka to assess the situation last week.
At around 2:30am (Bangladesh time) on Friday, Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket informed reporters after the meeting that the England tour of Bangladesh would continue as planned in October. The ECB also stated that it would continue observing the security situation in Bangladesh until their date of arrival.
"England's tour of Bangladesh will continue as planned," said Strauss.
"Tonight [Thursday] we discussed details with the players and management in an open meeting. They asked lots of questions, have time to ask more and will clearly want to take it all in -- we understand that. Selection for the tour will be made after the end of the summer internationals. We will, as always, continue to monitor the situation right up to and throughout the tour," he added.
There are still a few aspects which are yet to be cleared though. For instance, it's still not certain if England's players will be given an option to opt out of this tour. Regardless, the fact remains that England have received the green signal to come to Bangladesh on September 30 to play three one-day-internationals and two Tests.
It was a decision that was lauded by Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan Papon. Speaking to reporters at his Gulshan residence on Friday afternoon, he thanked the ECB for taking the positive step.
“I would like to thank the ECB, the England team, our law enforcement agencies like police, RAB and our security agencies. There is no point in saying anything before thanking them," said Papon.
After the terror attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1, the tour was thrown into uncertainty and the routine security visit of the relevant areas by a three-man ECB team assumed special importance, as their verdict would determine whether the tour would take place as planned.
“I want to thank the prime minister as well. Our prime minister took the matter upon herself," said Papon. "She did the same during the Under-19 world cup. The support we are getting from the government is unbelievable and I believe that the decision that England have taken is right," he added.