IPL not moving out of India, Modi insists
Lalit Modi has insisted that the IPL will not be moved out of India, despite security concerns raised in an independent report commissioned by the players' unions in England, Australia and South Africa that led to talk of shifting the event to another country.
"We are going to have the tournament in India. I can't see any reason why we should move it at this point in time. The media is reacting to every fringe group saying security is a problem," Modi told BBC Sport in reaction to the concerns.
The Australian reported the security discussions caused a split between high profile freelance players and Ricky Ponting when the situation was outlined at an Australian Cricketers' Association meeting in Sydney on Tuesday. The paper said Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist, who have supported each IPL tournament, clashed with Ricky Ponting over the way forward.
Cricket Australia-contracted players want to follow the ACA's advice while Warne and Hayden, a Cricket Australia board member, have said they want to go. If players pull out of the tournament they could be banned from future IPL editions, a decision which would cost some of them millions of dollars.
The report, written by the England team's security advisor Reg Dickason, said there was a credible threat to the tournament from terrorist groups, raising questions over player safety apart from talk of a boycott by international cricketers. The Australian Cricketers' Association has decided to formulate a list of security demands for IPL organisers, following a meeting attended by most Australian players slated to play in the tournament.
"The process from here is for all players associated to meet with their player groups and for all of us to feed back the concerns raised from these meetings to the IPL," Paul Marsh, the ACA's chief executive said. "This will be coordinated through our peak body the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations. From here we will await a response from the IPL."
Heath Mills, the New Zealand Players' Association chief, also outlined security concerns. "It's one thing to have a security management plan, it's a much different thing to see it delivered and delivered well. It's quite complex when you consider the IPL is played across 12 cities, 12 police jurisdictions throughout India. There are some real concerns around that aspect," Mills said.
Modi, however, underplayed their concerns. "Nobody in the world can safeguard the safety of the players in any tournament. All we have to do is ensure we are putting on the best security," Modi said. "Safety is paramount to us and we are working with the national and state governments to ensure we have good security in place.
"At the end of the day we have to ensure the safety plans we put in place and the way we conduct them are absolutely top-notch."
Modi also said that he was not overly concerned by the possibility of overseas players withdrawing from the event. "The heavens aren't going to fall if that happens. This is an Indian tournament; we have the key Indian players and only a few international players."
"We have no worries at all. You have to understand that the market for us is India. "The tournament is a huge success - we have a huge credibility, we have the top 200 players in the world. It's not only dependent on foreign players, although they are part of it, Modi said.