Source - smh.com.au
The international cricketers' union has warned Indian Premier League organisers they risk losing the game's superstars if they don't respond to terror attacks by beefing up their own security.
The cashed-up IPL stands as the possible next victim of Monday's bloodshed in Pakistan when Sri Lankan cricketers and officials were targeted travelling to the third Test in Lahore.
Recently-retired Test great Glenn McGrath is among those holding grave reservations about continuing involvement in the two-month Twenty20 competition after the attacks.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain said players and teams would also want to avoid India, which saw attacks in Mumbai and Jaipur last year, in the wake of another sub-continental security breach.
Federation of International Cricketers' Associations boss Tim May said the ball was in the IPL's court after a widespread players' survey demanded improved security for the tournament, to kick off later this month.
While 88 per cent of foreign IPL contracted players, including Australia's, reported they wanted better security and 83 per cent wished for assessments made by independent security experts, the IPL is yet to respond.
May said the IPL needed to put aside "philosophical differences" in dealing with player unions or risk losing their stars for the 2009 tournament.
"Players have consistently called for independent assessments of security risks - it's a necessary in today's world," he told AAP.
"Without such review, I am sure that a number of players would be reluctant to participate in the event.
"The most recent incident, albeit in Pakistan, serves only to heighten players' concerns regarding security, especially in countries that have a recent track record of terrorist attacks."
The December Mumbai attacks caused the abandonment of the Champions League Twenty20, which Victoria and Western Australia were to compete in.
Those attacks, which held similarities to Monday's in Lahore, also played a role in the rebel Indian Cricket League being called off this year.
With cricketers now being viewed as potential targets, McGrath admitted on Wednesday playing in the IPL was weighing on his mind.
"It does hit home a lot more considering being a cricketer," McGrath said. "With the IPL coming up there's concerns there too, being quite close to Pakistan."
Hussain, writing in London's Daily Mail newspaper, said: "This is evidence that anyone can be targeted".
"I never want to see cricket disappear from any of its heartlands but I'm afraid this emphasises that the show cannot always go on."
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, who plays under Shane Warne for the Rajasthan Royals, said he'd be happy travelling to India if FICA were able to ensure the required security standards.
"I was extremely shocked, I didn't expect anything like this to happen to any cricket team travelling around the world - it's blown me away," he said in Melbourne.
But Watson, the player of the 2008 IPL tournament, is keen to return to Rajasthan if given the green security light.
"You're never safe anywhere, to be fair," he said. "It's part and parcel of the world environment at the moment, more than just a certain region.
"I love playing cricket and if the opportunity is there to go to India, I will be there with bells on."
West Australian and Mohali coach Tom Moody, who also coached many of the Sri Lankan players injured in Lahore, said the terrorists couldn't be allowed to be seen to win.
"We can't step away and seem that we're beaten because of these individual acts," Moody said in Sydney.
"I'm sure security will be lifted to maximum level and players and officials should be able to be safe going forward, whether it's the IPL or other tours in parts of the sub-continent."
Michael Kasprowicz, who plays in the ICL for the Mumbai Champs, said India must be treated differently to Pakistan, and expected the security to be beefed up quickly.
"You're talking about a lot of money being invested into these teams and the IPL and I can't see all these people roll over," said the former Australian Test quick.
"They will spend money to get the best security available."