Aussies terrified, but decide to stay back

May 15th, 2008 - 4:54 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney/Jaipur, May 15 (IANS) Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers Thursday stated that there is no threat to the inaugural Twenty20 tournament as security concerns of the Australian players, shaken up by the serial bomb blasts in the city, have been addressed. IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi said the apprehensions of overseas players in the Rajasthan Royals, including captain Shane Warne, over security in Jaipur after the serial blasts were explained to them and they have decided to return to the pink city from their holiday in Goa.

The Australian media reported that Shane Warne, copatriot Shane Watson and South Africa captain Graeme Smith were terrified by the Jaipur blasts and may return home.

“They (players) were little perturbed. They were not clear of 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 that hightened security measures would be in place at the Sawai Mansingh stadium during IPL matches. Rajasthan Royals will take on Bangalore Royal Challengers Saturday, three days after serial blasts rocked the city killing over 60 people and injuring close to two hundred.

“No bags, bottles and lighters will be allowed into the stadium. Everybody will be frisked while entering in, and going leaving the stadium. The players will be completely cordned off, and nobody will have access to them,” Modi said.

The players said they would not return to Jaipur unless they received absolute guarantees about their safety and security and are even contemplating returning home.

“We wouldn’t be moving until we had 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 that the players are on way to Jaipur.

“All Australian players will play Saturday are they returning back (from Goa). They are comfortable with the security arrangments.”

In Japiur, IPL chief executive Fraser Castelino said that ’security is a concern’ but government is leaving no stone unturned to see that everything falls in place.

“We are closely working with the IPL and the state government. They have ensured us that security arrangements will be tight. All steps are being taken to see the safety of the players and to ensure that there is no umtoward incident. Sniffer dogs, bomb squad will be used during the matches.”

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