Heath Mills seeks BCCI cooperation on security issues

New Zealand Cricket Players Association Executive member Heath Mills wants the Indian Cricket Board to resolve differences with player associations and work alongside the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA).

Security during the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a bone of contention between the FICA and the BCCI, who has been accused of ignoring missives from the FICA while the terror attack on the Sri Lankan players in Lahore heightened the safety concerns for cricketers.

“I would like to talk to the Indian players, but unfortunately India does not have a players’ association. We need to be working with the BCCI and the IPL to understand what security plans they have in place,” Mills said.

“An important point here is international players are very used to working through their player representatives with the governing bodies to understand security risks and plans. That hasn’t happened with the BCCI to date, and they have to move past philosophical differences with player associations,” he said.

The Indian Cricket Players’ Association (ICPA), with Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and Arun Lal as its President and Secretary, had been formed some time ago, but it failed to take off as the BCCI refused to recognise it.

“The BCCI needs to bring its players close to it. We all want the IPL to go ahead and we want it to be a success. But we can’t have the players at risk. They need to work with player representatives, and the players directly, to assess the risks and help develop security measures to ensure everyone is safe,” said Mills.

He said the FICA was disappointed as the BCCI had not responded to a letter in regard to IPL security measures. FICA Chief Executive Tim May had sent a letter to the BCCI and the IPL.

“But we haven’t got a response yet. It was sent four or five weeks ago. We hope to engage the BCCI and the IPL through FICA and to get FICA involved in the security check process. That is really important from the international players’ point of view.

“If the BCCI wants the players to feel comfortable and secure about participating in the IPL, then it needs to include FICA in the process. The players will get comfort from it,” said the former Kiwi bowler.

Mills said a FICA survey showed that 83 per cent of the players involved in the IPL were concerned about their safety.

“The NZCPA and FICA have had questions for two or three months now about the security measures and the plans that will be in place for IPL.

“In fact, FICA completed a survey a month and a half ago with all international players and 83 per cent of the respondents said they had concerns for the security arrangements for the IPL. They wanted more information about that and they wanted an independent review of the security. The players are very keen for FICA to conduct that review.”

New Zealand Captain Daniel Vettori said he trusted New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and the players association.

“One thing the players have done is to trust NZC and trust the players’ association. That won’t change heading up to the IPL or our tour of Sri Lanka later in the year. I think we have to remain constant and consistent with what we have done in the past. If people come out and say these places are safe to tour, then we have to take their opinion,” said Vettori.

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