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IPL May Be Off For This Year


The Lahore attack is likely to extract a heavy toll on cricket in the subcontinent. International cricket in Pakistan is now out of the question for the next few years — and the country’s chances of co-hosting World Cup 2011 seem increasingly bleak — but Indian fans too may miss out on the muchanticipated Indian Premier League in April-June.
Hours after the Lahore attack, Union home minister P Chidambaram said he was worried terror in Pakistan could spill over into India. “It will be difficult to provide paramilitary forces for 40 matches and the elections too. I don’t want my forces to be stretched. (Hosting IPL after the elections) would be a better proposition,” he said.
IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said he would try to work out a new schedule within 24 hours. But BCCI sources said that given the packed international calendar, it would be impossible to hold the IPL any later. In effect, this year’s IPL would have to be scrapped, which could translate into big losses for the BCCI, IPL franchisees and players. It would be the second successive setback following the scrapping of the Champions League in the wake of the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai.

It will be difficult to provide paramilitary forces for 40 matches and the elections too. (Holding IPL after elections) would be a better proposition
P CHIDAMBARAM
International cricket in Pakistan is out of the question for now
DAVID MORGAN,
ICC PRESIDENT
I am worried where Pakistan will get a chance to play, not just in the country but outside as well.
INZAMAM-UL-HAQ
I don’t want to talk about cricket alone. The attacks have put Pakistan to shame. Please pray for us.
WASIM AKRAM
I am happy the government didn’t allow us to tour Pakistan.
MS DHONI
‘Who’ll come to Pakistan now?’
The IPL may stand cancelled following the terror attacks in Lahore.
Political observers said the UPA would not want to risk a terror attack targeted at an IPL match or at players during the Lok Sabha election campaign. Six out of the 8 IPL teams are based in UPA-run states.
Fans will be unhappy, but players will be disinclined to take chances. Subcontinental cricketers, who once laughed at the fears of white players, will now begin to think the same way, said some Indian team members.
When India pulled out of the Pakistan tour in January, Imran Khan had said that it was unthinkable that anyone, even terrorists, would attack cricketers. He may have been voicing what many players and administrators secretly believed. After Tuesday’s attack, that no longer holds good. Indeed, given the money and glamour that surrounds it, cricket — like Mumbai’s two five-star hotels — has become just too tempting a target for the merchants of menace.

The cricketing community was quick to condemn the attack on the Lankan team, which had embarked on a tour that no one else was willing to make. They only stepped in after India cancelled a much-anticipated January-February series due to security concerns, which proved to be tragically prescient. That was the third major event in Pakistan to be cancelled after Australia refused to tour in March 2008 and the ICC postponed the elite eight-nation Champions Trophy set for August until 2009.
Sri Lanka stepped in, becoming the first country to play a Test in Pakistan since South Africa in October 2007. There may not be another one anytime in the near future. Indeed, questions have arisen even about the cricket World Cup, which Pakistan is supposed to be co-hosting, in 2011.
Sharad Pawar, ICC vice-president and chairman of the organising committee of the 2011 World Cup, admitted that it would be difficult for Pakistan to remain a co-host. “We have decided to meet all the members who are organising this World Cup — India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and
Bangladesh — sometime next week, and we have to take a decision.”
In Pakistan, former stars were left lamenting the increasingly bleak scenario for cricket in the country. Former captain Zaheer Abbas said the incident had disgraced Pakistan cricket. “Who will come to Pakistan after this incident?” he asked. Waqar Younis concurred. “This is not good for our society or for our cricket. We wanted foreign teams to come and play but now it looks remote. Hopes of hosting the World Cup are also receding. We have to agree with whatever ICC decides. People will refuse to travel to our part of the world.”
Former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq went a step further. “Pakistan’s image will be hit and only time will tell how much damage has been done to Pakistan cricket. The World Cup too might be affected as no country would want to come to Pakistan now. I am worried where Pakistan will get a chance to play, not just in the country but outside as well.”
Incidentally, Pakistan’s next assignment is an ODI series against Australia in the UAE.

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