The lethal terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore has left international players in two minds on whether to participate in the second edition of the Indian Premier League to be held next month.
Considering Pakistan’s proximity to India, many players are assessing their decision.
“It does hit home a lot more considering being a cricketer,” legendary Australian pacer Glenn McGrath said.
“With the IPL coming up there’s concerns there too, being quite close to Pakistan,” he added.
Compatriot Shane Watson, who won the player of the tournament in last year’s IPL playing for the Rajasthan Royals, said the incident left him shocked and he would consider touring India if FICA gives a green signal.
“I was extremely shocked, I didn’t expect anything like this to happen to any cricket team travelling around the world – it’s blown me away,” he said.
“You’re never safe anywhere, to be fair. It’s part and parcel of the world environment at the moment, more than just a certain region.
“I love playing cricket and if the opportunity is there to go to India, I will be there with bells on,” Watson added.
Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, who had already withdrawn from this year’s IPL, said the participation of other Australians in the tournament could not be guaranteed.
“I sat with Pup [Michael Clarke] last night, and he was saying how happy he was not to be in the IPL. But some of the other guys who potentially could be going there will have all those things now they have to think about, more so than they did before,” Ponting said.
Australian bowler Nathan Bracken, who is signed up with Bangalore, however, has no issues playing in the IPL.
“If it is unsafe, I wouldn’t be asking him to go – but at this point of time, he’ll be honouring his contract,” Bracken’s manager Rob Horton said.
NSW coach Matthew Mott, who is also the assistant head coach of Kolkata Knight Riders, said he would reconsider his decision of touring India.
“It’s rocked everyone I know. We’ve probably got a couple of weeks to really consider it and we’ll listen to all the experts,” he said.
IPL agent Neil Maxwell said he was not clear what action would be taken against the contracted players who decide to skip the IPL starting in April.
“They would probably lose their revenue but that would probably be the extent of it,” he said.
“I don’t think there would be any formal situation against them unless it was en masse and then the IPL might have to look at it. I don’t think a player could be held to ransom over that sort of thing,” he added.