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Relieved cricketers to stay home


Australia's top cricketers will miss a huge cash windfall but their families were last night relieved next week's Champions League tournament was postponed because of terror attacks in India.

After Shane Warne had been stranded at Singapore airport, vowing not to go to India, top cricket officials ruled the multi-million dollar tournament could not go ahead.

Australia's top two Twenty20 teams, Victoria and Western Australia, were due to take part in the tournament.

Australians Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey and Shane Watson were to play for their Indian Premier League teams.

But after the Mumbai attacks, which killed more than 100 people, reports from security experts ruled the Twenty20 event could not be held safely.

"We held consultations among all the stakeholders. . . and it was agreed that in the best interests of all concerned, the inaugural edition of the Champions League Twenty20 should be postponed," tournament chairman Lalit Modi said.

"We very strongly condemn this dastardly and heinous criminal act of a few which has resulted in the loss of precious lives and injury to hundreds."

Even before the cancellation of the tournament, the Herald Sun learnt that "partner power" meant many top cricketers would have refused to travel to strife-torn India.

Hayden and Hussey both have young families while Watson, dropped for the second Test team, has been spending time with his partner Lee Furlong this week.

Watson said the bombings had hit home hard.

"I know they are not going to send us into an area under high alert," Watson said before the tournament was called off.

"It's extremely sad something like this can happen, especially hitting some landmark spots in the city.

"It seems that tourists have been 100 per cent targeted, which is a worry."

Hayden said the abandonment of the Champions League was a sad day for cricket, but there were bigger issues.

"It is a huge loss for international cricket when you consider two of our national domestic sides were going to travel there to be a part of a global tournament and arguably one of the future success stories of the game," he said.

"That impact is minor compared to the social and economic impacts it will have on India.

"From our point of view having a great affiliation with the country, we are shattered for the lives of the people that have been affected by it."

Warne was on his way to skipper the Rajasthan Royals when he and travelling partner Darren Berry walked into a transit lounge at Singapore Airport and heard the news.

They never planned to continue their journey.

"We are heading to Mumbai and that's the hotel we are staying at. I don't think we will be going (to India) now. Why would you?" Warne told the Herald Sun yesterday.

"At this stage I am going to stay where I am for the rest of the day, but I reckon we are certainties to be on a flight heading home later today.

"It is just not worth the risk. No amount of money is worth the risk with what is going on over there at the moment."

CA lawyer executive Dean Kino was in one of the hotels attacked. He escaped and was "safe and well" last night.

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