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Page last updated at 18:35 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

English stars to take IPL advice

Will England stars play in the IPL?

England's contingent of Indian Premier League players will receive further security advice before deciding on their participation in the tournament.

Security is an issue after gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan, on Tuesday.

IPL chairman Lalit Modi said: "There is no chance of postponing the IPL."

And England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Hugh Morris told the BBC: "Lalit Modi has given an assurance that security will be up to scratch."

Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, said a period of consultation with both the Indian authorities and players would follow ahead of the Twenty20 tournament.

"It's too early for us to start making decisions on are we going to go and play here, there or anywhere," Morris told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"But it's very, very worrying that cricketers, who have been perceived as untouchable, are being targeted. That does concern us a lot."

Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen are among seven England-based cricketers set to feature in the second year of the big-money IPL, which will involve the world's best cricketers when it begins on 10 April.

The tournament coincides with India's general election, prompting fears that security resources will be stretched.

I would be very nervous because that kind of attack is easier to carry out in India - and these guys can attack where they like

Duncan Fletcher
India's home minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, has already asked for the tournament to be postponed in the wake of Tuesday's attack in Pakistan.

But Modi insisted: "We have taken into account government sensibilities, but I am sure even the home minister would not want the whole country to come to a standstill during the elections.

"We did see this (clash of dates) coming. That is precisely why we had increased the number of kits and crews for this year's tournament.

"We will 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."

International Cricket Council vice-president Sharad Pawar, whose party is a member of India's ruling coalition, believes security forces in the country will be able to provide adequate protection for both the IPL and the elections.

"The situation in India is vastly different from Pakistan," he said. "Our security forces are competent, the public is aware, so I don't think we would have a situation (like the one in Lahore) here."

India's financial capital Mumbai was the target of a series of calculated terrorist attacks in November 2008, when 170 people were killed, but England resumed a two-Test tour soon afterwards.

"You have to go back to pre-Christmas and applaud the lengths that the BCCI and local security forces went to to ensure that tour progressed, and it did so in a very stable, comfortable environment," said Morris.

"They demonstrated clearly that once they put all their might and resources behind it they did deliver an exceptional service. But the world is changing and the environment over there is very fluid, they've got elections coming up.

"We will have to consider the changing environment and all of the advice over the coming weeks and then take that back to the players and help them with their decisions."

It is one of those things when you never feel vulnerable until something like this happens - then you are always feeling vulnerable

England captain Andrew Strauss
Morris added: "What we have to do is manage the risks around the players and it's gratifying to know the IPL will be doing everything they possibly can to ensure that happens.

"We're looking at the information that's coming back from the IPL and we're working in conjunction with the players' association to do that.

"Clearly that information will be passed on to the players."

The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations' (Fica), of which the PCA is a member, has already written to the IPL to seek assurances about security levels for its members.

"An increasing number of players have expressed a desire for an independent level of comfort surrounding security arrangements," said Fica chief executive Tim May.

New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram, who will play for the Chennai Super Kings, said: "I think before (Mumbai) I would have had no worries going to India but now I think there are definite questions to be asked."

Duncan Fletcher has urged England's players to think carefully about playing in the IPL.

"If I were one of those who signed for IPL, I'd be concerned," Fletcher told the Guardian.

"The traffic is often so bad, the coach can only move slowly, which turns it into a sitting duck for terrorists."

Fletcher led England on two tours of Pakistan, including their last tour in 2005, when security was markedly stepped up following bomb blasts in the country.

"Less than four years ago I was part of the England tour party to Pakistan that came in for criticism from sections of the media for going overboard on security.

"But if Tuesday's events in Lahore showed us anything, it's that you can never be too careful.

"There were times on that tour of Pakistan when the security was at a presidential level - with the exception of Karachi, they cleared roads for us on the way to stadiums and lined them with armed guards.

"India is different. There's nothing stopping a tuk-tuk pulling up alongside (a team bus) and detonating a bomb.

"I would be very nervous because that kind of attack is easier to carry out in India - and these guys can attack where they like."

England captain Andrew Strauss reflected on the sombre mood affecting the England camp.

"It is one of those things when you never feel vulnerable until something like this happens - then you are always feeling vulnerable," he said.

"It's a terrible day for the people involved, for the victims and their families and it's a terrible day for the game of cricket."

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see also
Sri Lanka cricketers arrive home
04 Mar 09 |  South Asia
Hunt for Lahore cricket attackers
03 Mar 09 |  South Asia
Pakistan faces loss of cricket tours
03 Mar 09 |  South Asia
Gunmen shoot Sri Lanka cricketers
03 Mar 09 |  South Asia
ICC considers World Cup changes
17 Feb 09 |  Cricket
Australia postpone Pakistan tour
11 Mar 08 |  Cricket
England to tour with full squad
07 Dec 08 |  England
Mumbai rocked by deadly attacks
27 Nov 08 |  South Asia
Sri Lanka in Pakistan 2009
04 Feb 09 |  Cricket

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