A month before the first ball is bowled,and with five of the eight host states still to give written security clearances to the organisers,IPL commissioner Lalit Modi assured the world today that Season 2 of the worlds richest cricket league will go through safely.
His phone gets frequently jammed these days as media speculation on the future of the league triggers waves of anxious calls,Modi said. However,security of players,officials and spectators is paramount,and IPL will be spending 10 times more on security in the tournaments second edition to ensure nothing goes wrong,he said.
Security will be managed centrally,not by individual franchises as in 2008,Modi said. Players security was the responsibility of the teams last year but this time we have gone venue-by-venue,managing the security centrally. Of course we will coordinate with the teams, he said.
Based on recent incidents,all security measures have been stepped up. From the minute foreign players land here to the minute they leave the country,and for Indian players the minute they enter the hotel to the minute they leave the hotel,we will be managing the security. Its a cumbersome template that was used during the India-England Test series last year. The security budget will be ten times more than last year.
Following concerns over matches clashing with polling dates,the IPL submitted a revised schedule to the eight states that will host matches. Three state governments have already given us their clearance in writing. The other five are expected to give it in a day or so, Modi said. We can say that 90% of our schedule has verbally got clearance from the government… One state had some problem with one date of a particular match,so we are working it out.
Modi did not release the revised schedule,saying it was being fine-tuned even as I speak. He did,however,say the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai would host the opening ceremony and the final match on April 10 and May 24. Ahmedabad and Visakhapatnam will host a couple of matches. Dharamshala and Nagpur could be two other venues in the list.
Chennai,Modi said,would not host all its seven IPL games there are a few blackout dates involved because of the elections. The Mumbai Indians will play all their matches at the CCI ground.
Asked about reports of some players expressing apprehensions about traveling to India,Modi said: No player has contacted me till date saying that he is apprehensive to play here. India is not Pakistan,we are a safe country.
Meanwhile,the players associations of Australia,New Zealand and South Africa have joined their English and Sri Lankan counterparts in seeking involvement in the IPL security management through the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA). With the BCCI shutting out FICA from any security related discussion,Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Paul Marsh said: Without this engagement,Im not sure how we could look our players in their eyes and say that we believe it is safe to play in this years event.
Modi rejected the idea. The IPL is conducted by BCCI,which talks to other Boards,Modi said. We have never been in touch with FICA but they can talk to other Boards and coordinate with them.