PCA investigates claim that players took call to play
The Professional Cricketers' Association is investigating claims that players were left to take the decision to go ahead with Saturday's IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians following two low-intensity bomb blasts outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
The Daily Telegraph quoted Ian Smith, the PCA's legal adviser, as saying the PCA were looking for more details about what led to Saturday's match going ahead, and were looking at a claim from a non-Indian player that the decision was left to the players themselves.
"The immediate worry for us, and I have heard this direct from one of the players, is that after the initial explosion and a sweep of the stadium, the decision that the game should go ahead was taken by the players," Smith said. "From what I have been told, the Indian guys said very quickly that they felt unfazed. But the foreign guys then felt under pressure to agree with their colleagues. The idea that you can determine whether conditions are safe by a referendum of the players is outrageous.
"They were out in the middle warming up when the bomb went off. We don't know who provided them with the information on which they made their decision."
JP Duminy, who plays for Mumbai, told Cape Times that Bangalore "were upset with the situation". "We were told to go back into the change rooms [after the blasts], and the security tried to keep everything low-key," he said. "They said everything was fine and that the game will go ahead. Bangalore were upset with the situation and had to be convinced to play the game. My team was always going to play."
Smith said he hadn't been able to speak to any of the six English players - Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Owais Shah, Michael Lumb, Kevin Pietersen and Ravi Bopara - involved in the IPL, but had been in email communication and advised them wait for a full report from the ICC's security experts Nicholls Steyn Associates and Reg Dickason, security adviser to the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations.
The semi-finals of the IPL have now been moved out of Bangalore and will be played at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai instead. While pleased with the shift, the PCA said it wasn't happy about the relocation being announced before the players had left Bangalore.
"Players I have spoken to today are experiencing quite a few problems and some are currently caught up in traffic trying to reach the airport, which isn't ideal," Angus Porter, the PCA chief executive, told Cricinfo. "We are pleased that the semi-finals have been moved to Mumbai, but making it public before the players have left Bangalore has left us a little uneasy. We will be very glad when they reach Mumbai.
When asked if the events of the last 48 hours went against pre-tournament agreements, Porter said, "The security plans have varied with how they have been implemented and we are concerned with how some aspects have been delivered.
"But what I do want to add is that this isn't a time to hit the panic button about the 2011 World Cup. Security around international teams is generally easier to deliver, rather than when individual players are out there representing sides such as at the IPL."