Pawar meets Shiv Sena chief over IPL concerns
The ICC president-in-waiting Sharad Pawar has met with Bal Thackeray, leader of the right-wing political party Shiv Sena, asking him to stand down on his earlier remarks about the safety of Australian players during the third season of the IPL. This follows a warning issued by the Mumbai-based regional party that Australians will be barred from playing matches in Mumbai in response to the recent attacks on Indians living in Australia.
Pawar, also president of the Mumbai Cricket Association, was accompanied by current Indian board president Shashank Manohar to Mumbai to meet with Thackeray and his son Uddhav, and the four sat behind closed doors for an estimated two hours. "We presented our viewpoint before Thackeray on this critical issue," Manohar told reporters. "We tried to convince him that only one or two Australian players will participate in the IPL matches and by not allowing all IPL matches it is the state players [Marathi players] who will lose ultimately.
"We also explained to them the format of the IPL teams and matches and how there were one or two Australian players in each team. Thackeray has asked for a detailed presentation on the issue which we will be providing in couple of days and thereafter he would consider our request."
Thackeray recently declared that "kangaroo cricketers" would not be welcome in the state of Maharashtra in retaliation for a series of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne. Leaders of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have also come out strongly in their criticism of attacks on Indian students in Australia, and said they would protest against the participation of Australian players in the IPL.
Indian home minister P Chidambaram has since guaranteed visiting players security, while the Australian Cricketers Association has said it is close to receiving a security report being prepared by the IPL authorities.
The two Australian players who are part of the IPL franchise Mumbai Indians are Dominic Thornely and Luke Ronchi.