Australian govt assures players of IPL security

Chances of Australian cricketers participating in the IPL have improved after the government Down Under assured them that terror threats were not credible.

updated: February 28, 2010 14:26 IST
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Chances of Australian cricketers participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL) have improved after the government Down Under assured them that terror threats to the Twenty20 event were "not credible".

According to a report in 'The Age', the players received "a measure of reassurance" during a briefing from a senior government official at their New Zealand hotel on Saturday.

Australia are currently on a tour of New Zealand and a senior representative from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) flew down to Christchurch to tell them that a recent threat from the al-Qaeda-linked 313 brigade was "not credible".

"Retired stars contracted with IPL such as Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden, will be given the same information in a telephone hook-up tomorrow," the report stated.

Australian Cricketers' Association chief Paul Marsh said he hoped to get specific security assurances from the IPL nonetheless.

"Reg is comfortable that the (al-Qaeda) threat is not credible but we still haven't received a commitment that the security plans will be implemented as laid out," Marsh said last night.

"The ball is in the IPL's court at the moment. They can give us the commitment to implement the plans or they can't. Let's hope that they can. Our understanding is it that they've done it before, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has done it. We keep saying, our players want to go," Marsh added.

Australian players have made some security demands to the IPL and are awaiting response on them before deciding whether to take part in the event or skip it.

Earlier, Federation of International Cricketers' Association chief Tim May had warned that there could be "mass withdrawls" from the league if security demands of the players were not met.

"We would love to tell the players it is OK for them to go. But we can't give that assurance at the moment, because no one will say definitively that the security plan will be implemented at each of the venues," May told the BBC.

"If the security situation does not improve, there could be mass withdrawals," he added.

Meanwhile, Australian foreign minister Stephen Smith confirmed that a member of his department went to New Zealand to speak the cricketers and reassure them about security in India.

"We have done an exhaustive assessment of that and the conclusion we've come to and the advice that we've given those players is that we don't regard that threat as a credible threat," he said.