The Board of Control for Cricket in India came under fire for not having a players' association as Heath Mills, who is the voice of the players in New Zealand, said that it would be difficult to allay players' fears over touring India till such an organisation was established.
Mills said the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) had written a letter to the BCCI almost five weeks ago seeking reassurances regarding security for players during the IPL but was yet to receive a reply.
“FICA completed a survey a month-and-a-half ago with all international players, and 83 per cent of the respondents said they had concerns for security arrangements for the IPL,” Mills said. “They wanted an independent review of the security, and they are very keen for FICA to conduct that review.
“FICA, through (chief executive) Tim May sent a letter to the BCCI and the IPL four or five weeks ago. We haven't gotten a response to it. The international players are very used to their representatives working with the governing body to go through the security process. If the BCCI wants players to feel comfortable and secure about participating in the IPL, then they need to include FICA in the process.”
The BCCI refuses to recognise any player bodies, including the Indian Cricket Players' Association formed a few years ago with former captains Tiger Pataudi and Ravi Shastri — both, coincidentally, on the IPL governing council - as key office-bearers.
“I'd like to talk to the Indian players but unfortunately, India is one of the countries not to have a players’ association,” Mills said when asked if the Indians had voiced security concerns on tour. “Obviously, the team management and board have asked for increased security in New Zealand, and that's understandable. Terrorism can occur anywhere in the world now and while New Zealand is safe, there's no boundaries to this.”
Asked what FICA planned to do if it failed to receive a reply from the BCCI, Mills said, “We need the BCCI to be working with FICA to know what's happening, what security measures are being put in place and who's assessing the risk, that the people are independent. If they get FICA around the table now, hopefully we'll be in a good position to make decisions and give our players good advice. If they don't do that, we won't be in a position to give our players any advice. Then, they'll really begin to question the IPL and their participation in it.”