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Players concerned about Indian Premier League security

Lalit Modi
IPL chief Lalit Modi has played down security concerns

By Simon Austin

The Indian Premier League could be hit by a host of withdrawals because of security concerns about the tournament, world cricketers' chief Tim May says.

May has been inundated with calls from worried players in the last week.

"There is an extremely high level of concern from a number of players from a number of countries about the IPL and security," he told BBC Sport.

"I think you'll find that some players are more risk averse than others and will probably stay at home."

The third season of the IPL begins in Mumbai on 12 March and looks like it could be overshadowed by security fears.

On Wednesday, Asia Times online published a message reportedly from the 313 Brigade, an operational arm of Al-Qaeda, that threatened the IPL, Commonwealth Games and Hockey World Cup, all of which are being held in India.

We do not recognise Tim May and Fica and we aren't discussing anything with them

Lalit Modi
IPL commissioner

This followed a threat against Australian players competing in the IPL from the right-wing Hindu group Shiv Sena.

May, the chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers (Fica), said: "I must admit this [reported threat from the 313 Brigade] doesn't come as a surprise to us.

"We had previously been advised by security experts that a high-profile event such as the IPL, leading up to the Commonwealth Games, may represent a significant target for terrorism.

"It's obviously concerning, though not necessarily surprising, to hear about those specific threats.

"It's up to the individual players whether they go to the IPL. All we can gauge an opinion on is the number of concerned calls we have received in the last few weeks.

"Let's just say those calls are increasing by the day."

Shane Warne, player-coach of the Rajasthan Royals, told Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper he was having "second thoughts" about playing in the IPL following the reported terrorist threats.

Shane Warne
Warne now says he is happy with IPL security arrangements

"The threats have certainly got me thinking twice and is of deep concern to athletes across a number of sports," Warne said, although speaking later on his Twitter feed the Australian insisted he was happy to go because the security threat had been removed.

IPL commissioner Lalit Modi told BBC Sport the threat from Shiv Sena had been withdrawn and he defended security arrangements for the IPL.

"We are in touch with all the boards and they are in touch with their players," he said. "The plans are sensitive though and that's why we cannot discuss them with the media.

"But we do not recognise Tim May and Fica and we aren't discussing anything with them. South Africa are playing here as we speak (in a Test series against India) and I rest my case on this issue for now."

May said he was concerned that the IPL was refusing to discuss security arrangements directly with the players, their unions or Fica.

"It's in everybody's interests to be totally open and transparent with these security arrangements, because it doesn't serve any other purpose to do something else," he said.

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"But quite simply, the IPL won't supply Fica or the players directly with their security arrangements.

"It's very, very frustrating and the only emotion that comes out of that is distrust and suspicion about 'what exactly are they hiding from us'."

However, the national players' associations obtained the security arrangements via the international boards and are now having them reviewed by a security expert.

"Until that review is complete I'm not in a position to answer whether the security arrangements are adequate to cover the risks and I haven't seen any plans," May added.

"A lot will ride on players' decisions after the delivery of this independent security report."

There are eight English players in this season's IPL - Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Eoin Morgan, who miss the first three weeks because of the Bangladesh tour, and Graham Napier, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Owais Shah, Michael Lumb and Ravi Bopara, who will be there for the duration.

The tournament was moved to South Africa last year because of concerns that security might be stretched in India because of the national elections.



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see also
IPL sets date to name new teams
17 Feb 10 |  Cricket
English club linked with IPL team
16 Feb 10 |  Cricket
Deccan beat Bangalore to win IPL
24 May 09 |  Cricket
IPL will be staged outside India
22 Mar 09 |  Cricket
Warne's Royals win inaugural IPL
02 Jun 08 |  Cricket


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