In a desperate bid to save the Indian Premier League’s second edition, its organisers have sent a revised schedule of the high-profile event to the home ministry, which will now decide whether security can be arranged for the Twenty20 tournament.
The tournament has come under a cloud of uncertainty in the wake of the deadly terror attack on Sri Lankan team in Lahore and the general elections in India which coincide with the league that starts April 10.
After a series of meetings, the IPL organisers have re-drawn the schedule of the tournament taking care that no matches are held on polling days in the cities hosting the games.
“We have taken care to ensure that host cities are not alloted a match two days before and after the polling day. We have submitted the schedule to the home ministry. It is upto them now to advice us,” a top IPL source said.
The IPL officials are not meeting the Home Ministry officials for the time being. “We will have a meeting if they call us to seek certain clarifications or for any other matter,” he added.
The organisers are not in favour of postponing the tournament as it may lead to massive financial loss for the franchise owners as well the tournament itself.
The Home Ministry has made it clear that providing security for the league during the time of general elections would be difficult, due to shortage of paramilitary forces and the time it is likely to take for deploying them for election duty. The security agencies are themselves unwilling to stretch for the league and have told the government to press for a postponement of the high-profile event.
The terror attack on the Sri Lankan team on Tuesday in Lahore has also compounded the problems for the IPL organisers, who now expect pullouts by many of the foreign players.
Federation of International Cricketers Association chief executive Tim May has already sought a wider role in assessing the security for players during the IPL.
New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram, who plays for Chennai Super Kings, has stated that cricket was not above life for him and he would give it a hard thought before deciding whether to travel to India or not.
Like Oram, many other players may now be reluctant to play in the sub-continent, which has witnessed a number of terror attacks in the recent past.
In case the organisers are forced to postpone the IPL, it would be difficult to find a slot to hold the event this year in view of the crammed cricket calendar. It would then have to be held around the same period next year.