Aussies terrified, but decide to stay back (Lead)May 15th, 2008 - 6:09 pm ICT by admin
Sydney/Jaipur, May 15 (IANS) Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers Thursday said there is no threat to the inaugural Twenty20 tournament as security concerns of the Australian players, shaken by the serial bomb blasts in the city, have been addressed. IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi said the apprehensions of the overseas players in the Rajasthan Royals, including captain Shane Warne, about security in Jaipur after the serial blasts have been addressed after the steps being taken were explained to them. They have decided to return to the pink city from their holiday in Goa, he added.
The Australian media reported that Shane Warne, compatriot Shane Watson and South Africa captain Graeme Smith were terrified by the Jaipur blasts and may return home.
“They (players) were a little perturbed. They were not clear about the actual situation on the ground. Their understanding was based on media reports. But now we have told them about the security arrangements and they are happy with the steps IPL has taken,” Modi said.
Modi said the heightened security measures would be in place at the Sawai Mansingh stadium during IPL matches. The Rajasthan Royals will take on the Bangalore Royal Challengers Saturday, three days after serial blasts rocked the city killing 63 people and injuring more than 200.
“No bags, bottles and lighters will be allowed in the stadium. Everybody will be frisked while entering and leaving the stadium. The players will be completely cordoned off, and nobody will have access to them,” Modi said.
The players earlier said they will not return to Jaipur unless they received absolute guarantees about their safety and security and were even contemplating returning home.
“We won’t be moving until we have absolute guarantees, written guarantees from heads of (these) states and from heads of security,” manager of Rajasthan Royals Darren Berry told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“There was a real option of getting on the plane and getting out of here. It is terrifying. To think I was standing in the exact location the bombs went off only two days ago … it was a couple of kilometres from the team hotel. The whole country has gone into lockdown,” the Australian was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“These games are getting big crowds. People over here tell me this has nothing to do with cricket, it is political … but if some people are prepared to cause this type of damage, detonating bombs in peak-hour to harm the most number of people possible … 50,000 people come to the stadium to watch the games,” Berry said.
Modi said the players are on way to Jaipur.
“All Australian players who will play Saturday are returning (from Goa). They are comfortable with the security arrangements.”
In Jaipur, IPL chief executive Fraser Castelino said ’security is a concern’ but the government is leaving no stone unturned to see that everything falls in place.
“We are working closely with the IPL and the state government. They have assured us that security arrangements will be tight. All steps are being taken for the safety of the players and to ensure that there is no untoward incident. Sniffer dogs, bomb squads will be used during the matches.”
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