Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Shane Warne is uncertain. The other Aussies are not really sure as well. The South Africans, West Indians and Sri Lankans seem to be ready. The Pakistanis have not been called. The English and the Kiwis are scared. That’s the status of IPL 2010. The security issues surrounding the Third Edition of the multi-million dollar tournament have resulted in complete chaos and confusion. No one can really be certain as to who is playing this year’s tournament and who isn’t.

The 26/11 attacks in Mumbai resulted in cancellation of Champions League 2008 and abandonment of 2 ODIs between India and England. The venues for the ensuing India – England Tests were also changed before the English team could be convinced to revisit India to complete their tour.

Fourteen and a half months later, a terror strike in Pune has suddenly put the country on a red alert once again. Security issues are cropping up again everywhere. Hockey teams are scared to visit India for the Hockey World Cup. A Kiwi striker has already pulled out of the tournament due to security concerns despite the fact that his team will be playing. Doubts are being raised about the Commonwealth Games 2010 to be held later this year in New Delhi. Australia and New Zealand have been nominated as back up venues in case the Cricket World Cup 2011 is forced to be shifted from the sub – continent.

And the terrorists are happy. Their objective of creating panic in a relatively stable world is bearing fruit for them. We are giving them the encouragement that they scarcely need by showing to them that they are affecting us. That they are forcing us to change our decisions. That they are getting into our heads.

Crossing a road carries the risk of being run over by a vehicle. Riding a bike or driving a car carries the risk of meeting with an accident. Plugging in your laptop charger carries the risk of suffering an electric shock. Does that mean that you are going to stop crossing a road or riding a bike or driving a car or charging your laptop? I live in Pune. But I am not going to stop living my normal life just because a terror attack occurred in my city. I am not going to stop visiting bakeries because they are considered ‘soft targets’ for terrorists. In my own small way, I am not going to let the terrorists gain any sense of achievement from their cowardly acts.

Sportsmen have a wider appeal. This is their big chance to show to the terrorists that they are not scared. That their methods are not going to work. But our beloved sportsmen are not ready to do so. I have heard the argument that it’s a matter of life and death. But on what basis are they saying that they have ‘security issues’?

Even in a normal environment, without such security issues, cricketers are provided with a big armed force team that takes care of their security. In the current environment, they have been promised an even bigger cover. And they say they have issues!

I walk into bakeries without any security personnel surrounding me. I don’t have such issues. Why do these sportsmen then feel that they will be specifically targeted? I know terrorist organisations have issued threats of disrupting the sporting events that are to be held in India. But that is their job – issuing threats. Osama Bin Laden has issued numerous threats to USA. Does that mean that the citizens of USA should live in eternal fear that their building will suddenly collapse due to a hijacked airplane crashing into it?

India has a clean track record when it comes to security at major sporting events. We have had crowd troubles in the past, but never has there been a case of a visiting team’s bus being caught amidst gunfire. We do not have bombs exploding virtually every day in some nook or corner of the country. Then why are these sportsmen scared?

The terrorists have attacked the world that we live in for a long time now. This is our chance to counterattack. A chance to show them that they cannot govern the way we want to live our lives. A chance to show them that their methods are not going to scare us into submission. A chance to live lives on our own terms!


Parag said...

Well said, Shridhar! It is good that Lalit Modi has stated that IPL will remain in India this year.

Nikhil said...

thats right parag. succesfully hosting ipl will help india gain the world's confidence ahead of next year's world cup.