Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Will the IPL ever fulfil its obvious potential?

The start of the third IPL tournament is a little over two weeks away and there's a seemingly endless stream of stories appearing to question whether it will go ahead with its full gamut of global superstars.

Reg Dickason, the England security consultant who was so prominent in the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist outrage in 2008 - and indeed instrumental in getting England's players (rightly) to go back to India to complete the series, has written a report seriously questioning the security of players if they go to the IPL.

A group called the 313 Brigade, apparently an off-shoot of al-Qaeda, has issued a specific threat to the tournament and has advised other countries that their players are not safe if they travel.

This comes off the back of last year's tournament being moved to South Africa at the last minute because Indian authorities could not guarantee the security of players with an election taking place at the same time. Does this litany of security concerns fundamentally undermine what is clearly an excellent event?

I don't necessarily think it does, there are security concerns at every international tournament so we shouldn't balk at the first sight of danger. However it does, like it or not, constantly leave a question mark over the tournament and that can't be good for its future development.

This isn't just bitterness because England are perceived to be outside the tent attempting to piss in where the IPL is concerned. I think its pretty obvious for all to see that there are constant question marks hovering over Lalit Modi's Twenty20 behemoth. Unless the security concerns can be put to bed once and for all this will in my opinion only detract from what its meant to be about: cricket.

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