DateLine: 9th March 2009
South African cricketers will not be allowed to go to India for their IPL commitments if the security conditions there are deemed insufficient, according to the company responsible for their safety.
"We are in daily contact with the Indian authorities and even though we are not in charge of stadium safety, we do look after the protection of the players," said Robert Nicholls, director of Nicholls, Steyn and Associates, which controls player security during the IPL. "If we feel that it does not comply with the standards, we will not allow the players to play there."
Nicholls said the attacks on the Sri Lankan side in Lahore last week had been "a wake-up call for everyone." "Until recently, cooperation with Indian authorities was practically non-existent, but hopefully this will now change." Nicholls admitted that one of the "biggest headaches" was the national elections taking place at the same time as the IPL, as there may not be enough security personnel to handle both events simultaneously.
"The problem with the law enforcers on the subcontinent and especially in India is that as soon as you ask them to heighten security measures, they just make more police officers available. Eventually you can have 60,000 officers, but it will help very little against a suicide bomber."
South African captain Graeme Smith said that no "hasty decisions" would be taken. "We will rely heavily on the advice of Cricket South Africa and the safety consultants, but it is understandable that the guys do not want to return to the continent.