Australia’s players have been warned to remain vigilant about their safety in the West Indies after a touring cricket journalist was mugged just a few minutes’ walk away from the team’s hotel here in the Dominican capital Roseau.
Daniel Brettig, an Australian who is assistant editor at ESPNCricinfo, was attacked by two men carrying knives after withdrawing cash from an ATM machine at around 10pm on Saturday night.
Brettig was slammed into the ground face first and had his wallet and mobile phones stolen. He was treated in hospital after suffering a bloodied nose, a cut on the head and several other grazes.
Players were informed of the incident via a text message from team manager Gavin Dovey on Sunday morning and told to take extra care when venturing outside their hotel in Roseau.
The attack on Brettig came on the same night a travelling Australian supporter reported that he was also mugged, while an employee of Ten Sports – the broadcaster covering the series – was attacked on Saturday night.
Brettig, who returned to the team’s hotel on Sunday to interview some players, said he was trying to not let the attack ruin his experience of a country he first visited on Australia’s tour here three years ago.
“I’m overwhelmingly relieved it wasn’t worse, but equally I don’t want to let this affect how people see Dominica,” he said.
“I have had a terrific time here both this week and in 2012.
“What has changed for me, however, is I’ll never be out on my own at night on a cricket tour again – irrespective of the location. We have all had a quite relaxed attitude to Dominica because it had a good reputation, but this goes to show you should always be careful, irrespective of location.”
Cricket.com.au cameraman Andre Mauger was with Brettig just before the attack. He later accompanied him to hospital and provided a statement to police while frantically trying to get in touch with Brettig’s closest colleagues in Roseau.
“We were at a bar having a few drinks and Dan went off to the ATM so he could get some cash out to settle the bill,” Mauger said.
“He was gone for about 20 minutes and I was wondering what was taking so long. Then he walked in with blood streaming down his face. There was quite a lot of blood, his shorts were all ripped and he was clearly in shock. But he was remarkably calm considering what had happened.
“It was pretty scary for all of us. We’ve had a great time here and haven’t felt unsafe at all up until last night. It could have happened to any of us. Dan was just the unlucky one.”
Mauger said the incident was a disappointing end to an enjoyable week in Dominica. The early end to the first Test has meant players and the media have been able to enjoy parts of the island outside the capital.
“It was such an unnecessarily brutal attack just to steal someone’s wallet and phones,” Mauger said.
“But the ambulance turned up in a flash and the police were really good as well.
“The police told us to never walk alone at night and recommended that we walk in groups of at least two or even four people.
“People are so friendly here and it’s such a relaxed vibe that we haven’t felt unsafe walking around the city until this point. Everything’s in such close proximity that we never really thought that walking around would be dangerous. You just never think something like this is going to happen.
“We’ve had a really great time here apart from this. It’s a beautiful country and we’ve been treated really well wherever we’ve been.
“All the locals we spoke to last night and today were really disappointed and upset that it happened to a visitor to their country. They’re such friendly people, but there are always a few bad eggs.”
Dominica is considered one of the safer islands in the Caribbean and the incident was a sobering reminder to the players, coaching staff and the travelling media of the dangers of touring in the West Indies.
The Australian team will fly to Jamaica on Monday ahead of the second Test in Kingston, a city which is considered one of the most dangerous in the region.
Aussie journalist attacked in Dominica
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