Joined: 28 April 2008
3 hours ago
LONDON (AFP) — England batsman Kevin Pietersen said on Sunday that he could pull out of the Indian Premier League on security grounds.
Pietersen is due to make his decision after talks with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) officials and his IPL franchise, Bangalore Royal Challengers, after the ongoing fifth and final Test against the West Indies in Trinidad.
The South Africa-born shotmaker was widely praised when, as England captain, he led his adopted country back to India after the Mumbai terror attacks.
But the attack last Monday on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, which left eight Pakistanis dead while seven Sri Lankan players and an assistant coach, as well as a Pakistani umpire, were wounded, has heightened the safety fears of the world's leading cricketers about playing in the sub-continent.
And even though the Twenty20 IPL is a highly lucrative event - Pietersen was purchased by the Royal Challengers for 1.55 million dollars, the same auction-topping fee the Chennai Super Kings spent on his England team-mate Andrew Flintoff - the ex-England captain is now considering whether the risks outweigh the rewards of what would be a three-week stint in the tournament.
"I will be consulting as many people as I can but if I don't think it is right, then I will not be going," Pietersen told the News of the World.
"After this final Test against the West Indies, I will be speaking to Bangalore, to the ECB, to my agent and to security advisors.
"Then I will be a lot clearer in my thoughts than I am now. Since the terror attacks in Mumbai we are all now more mindful of our own security arrangements.
"Hopefully the security will come right for India but if everybody pulls out of the IPL then it would be a disaster, a catastrophe, and world cricket would really be on a down.
"India is the force behind most of world cricket but there are things we have to go through before we go."
England returned to India after being promised increased security. But while sportsmen were not the objects of attack in Mumbai, the way that Sri Lanka's cricketers came under fire in Lahore threatens to make Pakistan a no-go area for touring teams.
Next February is meant to see an England tour of Pakistan but Pietersen said: "I think, at the moment, it is unlikely people will be comfortable travelling there. It is very, very sad - I feel sorry for the Pakistan cricketers.
"I feel sorry for everybody in Pakistan but everybody thought sportsmen were safe, they thought cricketers were safe but obviously they are not.
"I am shocked, it is a tragedy and a catastrophe - not just in sport but in the world. I don't think anyone would want to travel to Pakistan at the moment."
Pietersen added: "There has never been an incident like that. Everyone said cricketers were safe but now they are not safe in the subcontinent, so it is very worrying."
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