The threat of terror attacks on players during the Indian Premier League tournament is a significant one, a private security adviser contracted to the England and Wales Cricket Board has warned.
Reg Dickason, commissioned by cricketers’ associations in England, Australia and South Africa to assess the security threat in the forthcoming tournament that starts on March 12, is believed to have said that the operational arm of the Al Qaeda in Pakistan could target them. The report has not been made public, but on Sunday, The Telegraph newspaper from London reported that, on the basis of the report, English players would be urged not to travel to India.
The managements of four of the teams taking part, however, have told Hindustan Times, that despite the report, security was fine and no player would drop out.
In any case, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, and by extension the IPL, do not recognise players' associations or even the Federation of Cricket Players' Associations, the worldwide umbrella body of players.
Typically, the players’ associations advise their respective cricket boards on security issues after consulting with the relevant security agencies. Based on this a cricket board takes a decision on whether to tour a country or not.
In this case, the cricket boards are not directly involved, instead leaving each player to make an individual decision on whether to tour or not, based on information provided to them.
“On February 17 we had a workshop that was attended by all the franchises. Lalit Modi spoke about the arrangements put in place and there was also a presentation by experts from Nicholas-Steyn, who handle IPL security,” a representative of a franchise said.” Every thing possible is being done to ensure security.”
Earlier in the month, Home Minister P. Chidambaram had also assured Australian and Pakistani players of full security while in India, but that was from possible attacks by the Shiv Sena. The Pune blast occurred only on February 13
The IPL offered no official comment. Reg Dickason could not be reached despite attempts.