Australia Taking Sena Threat On Cricketers Seriously
The Australian government has taken Shiv Sena's threat against the country's cricketers "very seriously" but has left it to the players to decide whether they want to travel to India for the upcoming Indian Premier League in March.
According to media reports in Melbourne, Cricket Australia officials met the Department of Foreign Affairs after Sena's declaration that it would not let Aussie cricketers play in Mumbai, the city where IPL franchise Mumbai Indians is based.
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith said the threat is being taken very seriously.
"This has come from a political party and they have made comments about disrupting cricket in the past and they've also disrupted some cricket games in the past," Smith said.
"We take any threat against Australians overseas very seriously. Australians, whether they're Australian cricketers or Australians generally, should carefully read our travel advice so far as travel to India and other countries is concerned," he told Sky News.
Sena's threat came in the wake of a series allegedly racist attacks on the Indians living Down Under.
Smith, however, said it was up to the players to decide whether they wanted to go to India.
"In the end, it's a matter for Australians to make that judgement. It's a matter for Australian cricketers and Cricket Australia to make that judgement."
Meanwhile, Victoria Bushrangers coach Greg Shipperd, also the coach of the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, said Sena's threats will not scare him into withdrawing from the IPL.
"I am quite comfortable that security arrangements that have been put in place for us have been satisfactory and will continue to be so," he said.
"Any sort of violence around the world in any big city makes you nervous, but you only need to be in right place at the right time and avoid dangerous areas and certainly that's what I'll be doing."
Close to 40 Australian players are expected to take part in this year's IPL, scheduled March-April. The participating players include national captain Ricky Ponting and retired greats like Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden.
Cricket Australia (CA) said it would all boil down to what the players decide individually.
"We'll be having a look at this particular issue given that IPL is only six, seven or eight weeks away and we'll be providing the expertise, the advice, that we get to players who are going there," CA spokesman Peter Young said.
"At the end of the day those players make their own decision about whether or not they go, but we want them to be able to make informed decisions and we'd like to work with the ACA (Australian Cricketers' Association) to ensure they can make informed decisions," he added. All-rounder James Hopes, who plays for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, said he is not bothered by Sena's threat.
"I've been to India a fair bit now and security has never really been a problem for us. We get looked after pretty well and, touch wood, I'm hoping to go there for the whole IPL this year," he said.
Meanwhile, Smith said he is happy with security arrangements being put in place for the March hockey World Cup and the October Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
"We're very satisfied with the coordination that is occurring, particularly as far as the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth countries are concerned," he said.
"Our officials continue to be in very close contact with Indian officials so far as the Commonwealth Games and the hockey World Cup is concerned," he added. PTI