Cricket: Australia undeterred by Colombo bombing

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The Independent Online
THE AUSTRALIAN Cricket Board has no plans to cancel the imminent tour of Sri Lanka despite a bomb explosion in Colombo which killed one of the country's politicians yesterday.

During the 1996 World Cup, Australian cricketers refused to play in the country because of security fears after 100 people were killed when a bank building in Colombo was blown up.

The rebel group Tamil Tigers of Eelam claimed responsibility for that attack and have also been blamed this time for a "suicide" blast in which the moderate Tamil politician Neelan Thiruchelvam was killed.

However the ACB's chief executive, Malcolm Speed, said the tour would go ahead after he was given assurance by both the Australian High Commission in Colombo and his counterparts on the Sri Lankan board and the tour.

"Their advice is that we proceed subject to the usual security precautions," Speed said. "The current situation is quite different from the previous one and the advice we've had from the High Commission is the tour should go ahead."

Speed said the players selected for the tour were not concerned by the news of the explosion and accepted it as "part and parcel" of being a professional cricketer.

Australia's tour begins on 22 August with a triangular one-day tournament and they follow that with three Tests.