Indian Premier League in grave doubt
The devastating impact of the Mumbai terrorist attacks are set to reverberate through world cricket next year, with a dark shadow now cast over the mega-rich Indian Premier League.
The billion-dollar tournament was a wildly successful addition to the calendar last year but with the security of Westerners now uncertain on the subcontinent, the 2009 IPL is up in the air.
The second season of the competition - which features close to 30 Australian players - is due to be staged in April and May next year but Indian sources last night revealed there were major doubts over the IPL.
"We can't take anything for granted any more, these bombings change everything," a high-placed Indian source said last night.
A crippling of the massive cricket economy in India would be a grave concern for the world. The cricket-mad nation is the global powerbroker and for every dollar earned in world cricket, India generates 75 cents.
Australian skipper Ricky Ponting agreed the terrorist problems in India, and neighbouring Pakistan where tours have been cancelled, were a huge concern for world cricket.
"It's a massive concern for everybody, it's a massive international incident," Ponting said.
"It does make it hard for us as international cricketers and anyone who wants to travel to India."
NSW captain Dom Thornely - one of two Australians who plays for Mumbai in the IPL - says he'd understand cricketers pulling out of the competition in 2009 but he won't be one of them.
Thornely took a stance of defiance yesterday in the wake of terrorist attacks in the Indian city where he was based in this year's mega-rich Twenty20 tournament.
"I have never been treated better in my life than the way the Mumbai people treated us," Thornely said.
"I never once felt fear when I was there. Obviously these events have altered things in the last 24 hours.
"But I believe you play cricket for the love of it, and if you are going to let terrorists deter you from doing what you love, you are letting them win aren't you?"
Alongside West Australian keeper Luke Ronchi, Thornely played alongside Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya and Harbajhan Singh for the Mumbai Indians. His team stayed in a hotel in the middle of the city, further north of the area under attack yesterday.
"I spent quite a bit of time down in that area near the Taj, it's a great city," Thornely said.
"It's staggering to to think terrorism is happening in India now, and they are targeting Westerners. That feels a lot closer to home."