England’s Cricketers’ Association claims that IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and the franchises are “bugging players like crazy” to commit participation in the lucrative Twenty20 event but are refusing to acknowledge their security fears.
Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) director of legal affairs Ian Smith said Modi, who had earlier claimed that “heavens won’t fall if international players refuse to come for the Indian Premier League (IPL)”, has been “bugging players like crazy” to commit.
Smith, however, said the security situation in India seems better then a few weeks ago but a some concerns still remain.
“The situation is a hell of a lot better than it was a week ago,” Smith said.
“I am cautiously optimistic that we can reach a point before the start of the tournament where Reg can say it is safe enough to travel. We are getting closer. Ultimately it comes down to individual players and their individual circumstances,” he added.
Smith said the firm handling IPL’s security was up to mark but the players’ bodies were looking for assurances from the government of India.
“They are excellent guys and it is a good plan. The question is whether the states and the Government can implement it. Have they not signed off because they can’t or because they won’t? Nobody is prepared to say, ‘Yes we can do it’,” Smith said.
Smith criticised Modi’s refusal to acknowledge players’ bodies’ concerns.
“It has been a most frustrating period because guys feel thwarted and partly angry because of the way Lalit has chosen to spin it as a political move on our part. We cannot seem to get it into his head that we are genuinely interested in the safety of the players,” he fumed.
Meanwhile, Graham Napier left to join Mumbai Indians on Monday, while Kings XI Punjab batsman Ravi Bopara, who had earlier claimed that “cricket is not worth dying for”, is scheduled to leave on Tuesday for the tournament starting March 12.