England players urged to miss IPL by security experts.February 21, 2010
A security report will advise England’s eight Indian Premier League players to pull out of this year’s tournament due to threats from al-Qaeda.
By Nick Hoult
Telegraph Sport understands the report, commissioned by the players’ unions in England, Australia and South Africa and written by the England team’s security adviser Reg Dickason, will state the players’ safety cannot be guaranteed and threats issued by al-Qaeda sources last week were credible.
Fica, the international players’ union, expects a mass pull-out of players from the tournament this week unless security concerns are addressed or the IPL is moved out of India. The report will be passed on to the IPL’s international players, who will then make the decision to travel to India on an individual basis. The tournament starts in Mumbai on March 12, but the majority of the eight franchises begin training as early as next week, meaning the players will have to make a quick decision.
Paul Collingwood, England’s Twenty20 captain, and Kevin Pietersen are expected to join the IPL on March 24, after England’s tour to Bangladesh, but the rest – Eoin Morgan, Owais Shah, Graham Napier, Bopara and Dimitri Mascarenhas – are due to play the entire tournament.
“I am aware of the reported security risks and am in constant communication with Delhi Daredevils,” said Collingwood, who has not seen the report. “I will make a decision once I have had a chance to review all the available information and talk to the relevant people.”
A mass pull-out of international players would increase pressure on Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, to move the tournament from India for a second successive year.
It is believed the IPL have discussed returning to South Africa, which hosted the tournament last year. The United Arab Emirates is also a possible alternative. Publicly at least, Modi has remained steadfast in insisting India is safe and South Africa’s tour there has passed off peacefully.
But the IPL is a very different beast, with 60 matches in 12 cities across India. The logistics of providing the level of security afforded to the England team when they returned to India in the wake of the Mumbai attacks of December 2008, would be very difficult.
The report is believed to describe how a co-ordinated security operation involving different state forces in India is not guaranteed.