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Champions League Postponed


World cricket was in crisis last night with the game's most powerful nation on its knees and next week's multi-million dollar Champions League tournament postponed.

There is also no guarantee the cash cow that is the Indian Premier League will go ahead next year.

The Mumbai terrorist massacre has ripped the heart out of Indian cricket with Australia suspending all cricket-related travel to the country.

Next week's Twenty20 tournament – featuring teams from Victoria and West Australia as well as Test players Matthew Hayden, Mike Hussey and Shane Watson competing for IPL franchises – has been postponed indefinitely.

"The safety of the players is paramount and the best decision is to postpone the tournament," Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young said last night.

A new date for the Champions League will be decided soon.

The England cricket team last night reacted to the terrorist attacks by scrapping the rest of its one-day series against India, with players told to pack their bags.

Earlier, Australian captain Ricky Ponting said of the situation: "It's a massive concern for everybody, it's a massive international incident."

The bombings have other huge ramifications, with the future of IPL, the game's multi-million dollar money spinner, being scrutinised last night.

The next version of the tournament is scheduled for April 2009.

"We can't take anything for granted any more, these bombings change everything," an IPL source said last night.

Although the Champions League matches scheduled for Mumbai were initially switched to Bangalore yesterday, the fact the bombings were aimed at foreign tourists means the tournament was doomed.

It is a grave concern because India is the new global powerbroker and for every dollar earned in world cricket, it generates 75 cents

Ponting agreed the terrorist problems in India, and neighbouring Pakistan where tours have been cancelled, were a huge concern for world cricket.

"There are a few places for us around the world at the moment, for us as cricketers, that have been cancelled or postponed," Ponting said.

"It does make it hard for us as international cricketers and anyone who wants to travel to India.

"It's a horrible thing to have happened. We hope that it can all be sorted out as soon as possible."

The impact of the bombings has been enhanced in the mind of every Australia cricketer because to many of them the epicentre of the carnage, the Taj Hotel, is India.

Among former skipper Steve Waugh's favourite photographs of himself was one taken of him at the hotel gazing out on the famous Gateway of India monument.

Australian cricketers recall actor Demi Moore shopping there and Matthew Hayden remembers opening his hotel room window one morning and spying the laughing club of men roaring with laughter to wake themselves up.

Cricket powerbrokers were in shock last night and the cricket landscape may be markedly different as future international tours of India will come under heavy scrutiny.

In Mumbai, heavily armed gunmen attacked luxury hotels, a crowded railway station, a police station and other targets as they took people hostage yesterday.

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