Postponements due to terror attacks threaten world cricket: Wessels

November 30th, 2008 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, Nov 30 (IANS) The postponement of international cricket tournaments because of the threat of terror attacks is becoming a serious issue that could cause an East-West split in the game, according to former South African skipper Kepler Wessels.“It’s a problem for which a solution has to be found quickly, otherwise it could result in further splits in world cricket,” Wessels told the Afrikaans daily Beeld here.

Wessels was speaking in the wake of the terror attacks in Mumbai which resulted in the postponement of the inaugural Twenty20 tournament involving teams from several countries including South Africa.

The organisers decided to postpone the tournament, with prize money of $6 million, from its scheduled start this week to a date still to be confirmed.

“This is now the second tournament (after the Champions Trophy in Pakistan) which has had to be postponed this year for security reasons,” Wessels said.

“It is now becoming a big problem and is causing world cricket a great deal of damage. The image of cricket is also suffering and when players are not safe to play their game, it becomes a matter of great concern.

“World cricket cannot continue in this way. To play in Asia is dangerous,” Wessels added.

Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa, and Tony Irish, chief executive of the Cricket Players’ Association, concurred that the incidents in Mumbai were sad for both those who were affected by it and for cricket.

“It is unfortunate that (the decision to postpone the tournament) had to be taken, but the safety of the players is most important for us,” Majola told Beeld. “There will also be huge financial implications.”

Irish said the tournament would have been “a huge payday” for the provincial players.

Provincial teams Dolphins and Titans would have participated in the tournament. Titans captain Pierre Joubert said they were very disappointed while Pierre de Bruyn of the Dolphins said it now felt as if all the hard work they had put into preparing for the tournament was in vain.

The postponement has brought an unexpected blessing for South African coach Mickey Arthur though as he can now take his full 15-man team to Australia.

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