Overseas players having second thoughts on IPL

March 4th, 2009 - 9:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne/London, March 4 (IANS) The attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore Tuesday has put a question mark on the participation of overseas players in the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting next month.
Australia, New Zealand and England cricketers expressed security concerns as the IPL would played at a time when general elections also are to be held in India.

But both the IPL top brass as well as the franchise owners are confident that there won’t be any security problems in holding the Twenty20 league.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who has a contract with Kolkata Knight Riders said the attack on the Sri Lankan team was the main talking point all day among the touring side in South Africa.

Ponting, who had already withdrawn from this year’s IPL, couldn’t guarantee participation of other Australians in the tournament.

“I sat with ‘Pup’ (Michael Clarke) last night, and he was saying how happy he was not to be in the IPL. But some of the other guys who potentially could be going there will have all those things now they have to think about, more so than they did before,” Ponting was quoted as saying by The Age.

Glenn McGrath, who has signed up with the Delhi Daredevils, admitted playing in the IPL was weighing on his mind.

“It does hit home a lot more, considering being a cricketer,” McGrath said.

New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram said the terror attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore has made playing in the IPL unsafe.

Oram, who plays for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, said the Mumbai terror attacks in November coupled with Tuesday’s attack on Sri Lankans will force some tough decisions ahead of the event.

“Before Mumbai attacks, I had no worries coming to India but now I think there are definite questions to be asked,” said Oram.

“Now we know the things that we take for granted, like safety and freedom of doing what you want to do, aren’t so readily available in the sub-continent. Cricket is not as important as my life.”

“The IPL, obviously financially, has opened doors that I only dreamed about, but I’m married now and it would take a lot for me to actually turn a blind eye to what’s going on,” he said.

England captain Andrew Strauss admitted that cricketers now feel vulnerable wherever they play in this world.

“One argument that was used is that it is very unlikely cricketers would be targeted. Clearly that has been proved wrong. That is not a good situation for cricketers but people have died and that is more important than us thinking about any future tours. It has been a terrible day for the game of cricket and the family of the victims,” Strauss was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Six Sri Lankan cricketers — captain Mahela Jayawaredene, his deputy Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana and Chaminda Vaas — were injured Tuesday when the team bus came under heavy attack from gunmen en route to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore for the second Test match. Six escorting policemen were killed in the attack that took place near the Liberty Market crossing.

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