Indian Premier League ‘will be in India’, insists team owner despite terrorist threats
The Indian Premier League will take place in India despite the threat of a mass pull-out of international players worried about possible terrorist attacks.
As international players, including the eight England cricketers due to play in this year’s league, mull over the latest security reports on India, the IPL teams are continuing to plan for the tournament which begins in Mumbai on March 12.
The fact that it was shifted at short notice to South Africa last year has left some players hoping that will happen again following threats from al-Qaeda and right-wing nationalists in Mumbai.
As players meet their unions on Tuesday to discuss a report written by security expert Reg Dickason, there are no plans to move this time. “The fact it was moved last year has raised a level of expectation that it could be done again but it would be a lot harder to move it this time,” said one IPL owner. “There are a billion people desperate to see the IPL in India and it will be in India. Last year it was moved because the government could not offer full security because of the election. There was no threat level. It was very different.”
One IPL franchise, the Deccan Chargers, have confirmed they will not hold anything against players who pull out of the tournament.
No player has pulled out yet although the Australian Cricketers’ Association is meeting its members on Tuesday to decide their course of action.
There are indications that the threat level may have softened in recent days. Dickason was last night believed to be checking the latest advice after one international security agency declared the threat from the 313 Brigade, the arm of al-Qaeda, which has panicked many players, may not be as credible as first thought.
It is also believed the IPL are in high-level discussions with the Indian government to guarantee each state can provide intensive close contact security from specially trained officers.