No S African players for IPL if security seen insufficient

March 9th, 2009 - 10:36 am ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, March 9 (IANS) South African cricketers will not be allowed to go to India for their IPL commitments if the security conditions there are deemed insufficient, the company responsible for their safety told the Afrikaans weekly Rapport.”We are in daily contact with the Indian authorities and even though we are not in charge of stadium safety, we do look after the protection of the players,” said Robert Nicholls, director of Nicholls, Steyn and Associates, which controls player security during the IPL.

“If we feel that it does not comply with the standards, we will not allow the players to play there.”

Nicholls said the attacks on the Sri Lankan side in Lahore last week had been “a wake-up call for everyone.”

“Until recently, cooperation with Indian authorities was practically non-existent, but hopefully this will now change.”

Nicholls said one of the “biggest headaches” was the national elections taking place at the same time as the IPL, as there may not be enough security personnel to handle both events simultaneously.

“The problem with the law enforcers on the subcontinent and especially in India is that as soon as you ask them to heighten security measures, they just make more police officers available.

“Eventually you can have 60,000 officers, but it will help very little against a suicide bomber.”

South African captain Graeme Smith told Rapport that no “hasty decisions” would be taken. “We will rely heavily on the advice of Cricket South Africa and the safety consultants, but it is understandable that the guys do not want to return to the continent.

“There is an important tour to India for us next year and the IPL is just around the corner. Although there are serious objections to playing in places where you often risk your life, we must first wait to have all the information (before deciding),”Smith concluded.

Even though the IPL is very lucrative for South African players such as J P Duminy, who was snapped up for $1m by Mumbai Indians recently, Rapport quoted an unnamed player as saying that they would rather stay at home.

“I know of no player who is still seriously considering participation in the IPL. It’s not just Pakistan where you are constantly a target, but in many sub continental countries - just look at what happened in Mumbai (in November last year).”

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