Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen have been warned they risk becoming “sitting ducks” for terrorists if they play in the Indian Premier League in the wake of the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan.
Former England coach Duncan Fletcher has warned English cricket’s biggest names that, based on his experience, some types of terrorist attacks are easier to carry out in India than in Pakistan.
Writing in Wednesday’s Guardian, Fletcher recalled how the England tour party he took to Pakistan in 2005/06 had been criticised for the “presidential” level of security surrounding their trip, with roads to stadiums cleared and lined with armed guards.
“It provided some comfort at least,” he wrote. “Nothing is 100 percent but you sure as hell want that percentage to be as high as possible in your favour.
“India is different. The traffic is often so bad in the big cities where a lot of the cricket is played that the coach can move along only slowly at times, which turns it into a sitting duck for terrorists.
Fletcher added: “There is nothing stopping a tuk-tuk pulling up alongside and detonating a bomb. I would be very nervous because that kind of attack is much easier to carry out in India and these guys can attack when they like.”
Pietersen and Flintoff are among 11 English players bought at last month’s IPL auction.
Even before the Pakistan attack, Flintoff’s participation had been in doubt because of a hip injury and no England players will be able to take part if, as is being considered, the tournament is delayed.
IPL bosses are reviewing alternative dates after the Indian government said it would be difficult to ensure adequate security for the tournament because it overlaps with elections due to take place in April and May.