The International players’ bodies and the FICA (Federation of International Cricketers Association) will have to take the word of the Indian Premier League on the much hyped and debated security issue. Or not make an appearance — and that’s probably not a risk the players might like to take, given the money at stake.
Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman, made it clear on Tuesday they would be talking only to various national boards on the security issue and wouldn’t involve the FICA in any way on this subject. “We aren’t speaking to FICA,” he said. That should be enough to pour cold water on FICA’s eagerness to get involved in the process, and may leave players, seeking FICA’s advice on the security situation, a bit wary.
“Many players have got in touch with their respective boards and the FICA after Lahore to ask about the viability of travelling to the IPL,” Tim May, the FICA head, had told HT a couple of days ago. The FICA wanted a player representative to be part of the overview of security at every step so that they could pass on the right advice to anxious foreign players.
Modi, however, didn’t think it was as big an issue as it was being made out to be. “No foreign player has contacted the IPL directly or indirectly expressing any apprehensions about security,” he said.
This obviously means the demand for an independent security consultant to assess the situation will not materialise. So what happens next? Very simply, it’s going to be up to the players. FICA itself is an advisory body, not an authoritative one. Players’ associations will find it difficult to endorse the IPL from a security perspective now.
So, players themselves would now have to take a call on whether to go by the IPL’s guarantees of safety or not. If they don’t travel to India, the money they stand to lose is, for many of them, enormous - sums that Kiwi Jacob Oram described as giving them and their families “economic freedom”. It’s a difficult decision. And one that might ultimately be made more because of economic choices than anything else.