IPL 2010 February 18, 2010

Players' lobby warns of withdrawals from IPL

Cricinfo staff

Tim May, the chief executive of FICA, the international players' union, has warned of a spate of player withdrawals from the IPL due to security concerns over playing in India. He said he had received calls from several players expressing doubt over their participation in the tournament but was yet to arrive at a definitive assessment of the security arrangements in place.

"There is an extremely high level of concern from a number of players from a number of countries about the IPL and security," May told BBC Sport. "I think you'll find that some players are more risk averse than others and will probably stay at home."

May's statements came on a day the Jaipur police said they had received intelligence inputs of a terrorist threat relating to the one-day international in the city between India and South Africa on Sunday. "We have received an input. We are on full alert," BL Soni, the inspector-general of police, was quoted as saying on IBNlive.com. "We are making adequate security arrangements especially after the Pune blast. Everyone who comes to watch the match will be frisked. There is no need to worry."

This followed reported terrorist threats targeting the Commonwealth Games and the Hockey World Cup, both due to be hosted in India this year. Earlier, the Shiv Sena, a right-wing regional political party, had claimed it would not allow Australian cricketers to participate in the competition as a protest against attacks on Indian students in Australia.

May referred to these threats. "We had previously been advised by security experts that a high-profile event such as the IPL, leading up to the Commonwealth Games, may represent a significant target for terrorism," he said. "It's obviously concerning, though not necessarily surprising, to hear about those specific threats.

"It's up to the individual players whether they go to the IPL. All we can gauge an opinion on is the number of concerned calls we have received in the last few weeks. Let's just say those calls are increasing by the day."

May said he was awaiting an independent security report over the arrangements made for the IPL. "Until that review is complete I'm not in a position to answer whether the security arrangements are adequate to cover the risks and I haven't seen any plans.A lot will ride on players' decisions after the delivery of this independent security report."

Adding to the confusion was an about-turn, within the day, by Shane Warne, the Rajasthan Royals captain. He was initially quoted as saying he had "second thoughts" over playing in the IPL. "The threats have certainly got me thinking twice and are of deep concern to athletes across a number of sports," Warne said. Later on Thursday, he wrote on his Twitter feed he was happy to tour India "now that the threats have been removed".