Home Ministry to review IPL 2009 schedule

The government and the Indian Premier League (IPL) will review the schedule for the second edition of the Twenty20 league on Wednesday with home ministry officials maintaining that it would ask the organisers to reschedule the tourney.

“Dates have already been announced for the general elections that would require security personnel to be positioned and repositioned for nearly a month. Since the IPL timetable also clashes with dates for the election we might ask the IPL organisers to postpone it,” said a highly placed home ministry functionary.

The government’s move comes after six Sri Lankan cricketers — captain Mahela Jayawaredene, his deputy Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana and Chaminda Vaas — were injured when the team bus came under heavy attack from gunmen en route to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore for the ongoing second Test match. Six escorting policemen were killed in the attack that took place near the Liberty Market crossing.

In an interview to a television channel, Home Minister P Chidambaram said that he had instructed his secretary Madhukar Gupta to touch base with the IPL organisers to find out if the schedule could be rejigged.

“I have asked the home secretary who is meeting with the organisers on Wednesday. Let me however assure everyone that cricket in India will be safe,” Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram indicated that holding the 45-day tournament could be a high security risk due to non-availability of paara-military forces who would be also deployed for poll duties.

“It will be difficult to provide adequate para-military forces for election purposes as well as provide security” for the cricket matches,” Chidambaram said.

However, Chidambaram said there is no “inability” in providing the security but since it “coincides with elections, I don’t want to be stretched. I don’t want my forces to be strained” and added that re-scheduling would be a “better proposition.”

IPL chairman Lalit Modi said that he will leave no stone unturned to provide security to the players.

“The IPL is fully cognizant of the importance of general elections in a country such as ours. We will go a step further to ensure that there will be no games 24 to 48 hours prior to the polling dates across all the nine match venues in the country.”

“As indicated earlier, IPL will work with the State and the local authorities to ensure the smooth and successful conduct of the tournament. We will announce the new reworked schedule in the next 24 hours,” he said.

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