Players concerned about IPL security - Smith
Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, has said his country's ongoing tour of India is not an indicator that the players who are scheduled to feature in the IPL in March are comfortable with security arrangements for the tournament.
Smith returned to South Africa after the second Test in Kolkata because of a finger injury and missed the three-ODI series, which began in Jaipur amid a reported terrorist threat in the city. "The guys were nervous before the game but we need to trust the process we have always used with CSA and the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA)," Smith told Supersport. "We would prefer to play in a more peaceful environment but that's the nature of the world we live in at the moment.
"Players remain concerned about the security issues for IPL. This is a big event with lots of different players, stadia, hotels and travel arrangements. The help and assistance we get for this event from our players association will be very important to us. Everyone is monitoring the situation very closely at the moment."
Tony Irish, the SACA chief executive, said, "The Jaipur threat was investigated by CSA's security consultants, Nicholls Steyn and Associates. We will rely on their advice as to its legitimacy, what level of risk it presents to the team and what security measures are necessary."
He also agreed that the IPL represented a very different set of circumstances to a national tour where security was more easily controlled. "The IPL is an Indian domestic tournament and the players go there as individuals playing for eight different franchise teams," Irish said. "The boards of the different countries can't really be expected to review the security plans so it falls to the players associations in each country to do this for players. We take that responsibility very seriously. I can't think of anything more important than player safety and we won't compromise in any way on that."
Meanwhile, the Australian Cricketers' Association said it would help formulate a list of security demands following a meeting attended by the majority of Australian cricketers due to play in next month's tournament.
Security fears regarding the upcoming IPL have intensified after the 313 Brigade, Al-Qaeda's operational arm in Pakistan, issued a warning to "the international community" not to send its representatives to major sports events being staged in India.
Tim May, the chief executive of FICA, warned of a spate of player withdrawals from the tournament due to security concerns, and the England team's security adviser Reg Dickason said the threat from the 313 Brigade was credible and that security could not be guaranteed in India.