Threats of potential terrorist attacks during the Indian Premier League (IPL) have put the Australian and New Zealand cricketers in a quandary.
The players associations of the two countries said that they have received reports from security consultants, warning them of terrorist attacks. With the IPL management refusing to spell out security arrangements for cricketers, the players feel their concerns have increased.
The tension has risen following the threat by right-wing party Shiv Sena to prevent the Australian players from playing in Maharashtra’s capital Mumbai and the state’s Nagpur city in retaliation to the attacks on Indians Down Under.
Twenty Australians and six New Zealanders are among a big number of overseas players signed for various city-based franchisees to play in the IPL and they would arrive in the country by March 2 to prepare for the most lucrative cricket tournament, starting March 12.
The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) has been in touch with independent security agencies to get a first-hand information about the situation in India and it has also sought a meeting with the Australian government for advice on travelling to that country, reports the Australian.
‘The report doesn’t say ‘don’t go to India’ but it certainly raises issues which are of concern,’ ACA chief executive Paul Marsh said.
‘It identified specific terrorist groups which had the potential to target the event.’
‘We know these threats exist. It’s always going to be risky travelling to this part of the world but the security around it is what we need to understand.’
New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills said the IPL must let the players know the measures it has put in place for players’ security, but its non-cooperation has made things difficult.
‘The IPL have to engage us and show us what security plans they have to give us some confidence,’ Mills said.
‘At the moment, by excluding us, the IPL is prompting the question ‘Why are they excluding us?. Why are they keeping information from us?’ ‘
‘It’s standing practice with the boards at every ICC event that we work through a security process and make a decision.’
‘The frustrating thing is if the IPL worked with us and we were able to look at the plans and understand the risk assessments, then a lot of our concerns may be alleviated.’
‘The fact is that the players and player associations are just getting stonewalled by the IPL.’
‘A number of our guys are genuinely concerned about travelling to India at the moment. Obviously, with the Hockey World Cup and Commonwealth Games coming up, security is an issue which is very much alive and people are talking about it,’ said Mills.