Interview: ‘Players will be safe in India during IPL’

‘Players will be safe in India during IPL’

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Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta spoke to CNN-IBN about the BCCI’s intentions to postpone the IPL to a later date so as to not clash with the dates of the general elections.

CNN-IBN: Do you endorse the opinion of other team owners raising concern over player safety for the IPL?

Preity Zinta: I think we have full faith in the system and the Government in India. Player safety shouldn’t be such a great concern in India. Even when the England team was playing in India, they were completely safe (at the time of the Mumbai terror attack). I would like to give the benefit of doubt to the system to keep everyone safe during the IPL.

CNN-IBN: The BCCI has agreed to reschedule some of the IPL matches so that they don’t clash with the elections. But what P Chidambaram, the Home Minister, has said that it’s going to be very difficult to move security forces around for two much big events. Wouldn’t that be a huge concern?

Preity Zinta: That’s the Government’s decision and we respect that. We as owners are going to have a lot of security in and around the stadiums, that goes without saying. But we need to be positive and look at the brighter side and as opposed to being worried and scared. The idea of terrorism is to infuse fear and confusion among people. I can assure you that and from the system I would hope there would be great security cover and things would be fine.

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CNN-IBN: Have any of your players voiced any concern because Jacob Oram, the Kiwi all-rounder who plays for Chennai Super Kings, is said to have second thoughts about coming to India.

Preity Zinta: None of our players as of now have voiced any concern as such. Nobody has come forward and said anything. In fact, not even the two Sri Lankan players (Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara) have said anything of that nature to us. Our prayers are with them and thankfully, most of them are safe and sound. Incidents like these are unfortunate. It’s unfortunate for cricket and sport in general.

But I would like to say that we have full faith in the Indian security and the Government’s ability to protect sporstmen and its country’s citizens. It’s being unfair on people who have lost their lives in protecting them to come out and say that they have fears.

CNN-IBN: Have you been in touch with Sangakkara and Jayawardene after the incident?

Preity Zinta: We have been in touch with their families and they are safe. I think everyone has been a little jilted and shocked about what happened. But they are safe.

CNN-IBN: Did they mention anything about their forthcoming IPL participation or is it too early to ask such questions?

Preity Zinta: It’s very superficial for us to sit and discuss about the IPL when such an incident has happened. Our first concern was for the safety of the players who not only played for us, but for all the Sri Lankan players. Eventually, when you get to know people on a personal level, you feel terrible about it. So we did not talk about the IPL. I think that would be really cheap.

CNN-IBN: Considering the fact that there are a number of international cricketers in Kings XI Punjab, have you been discussing security issues with your team management?

Preity Zinta: Security was the No. 1 concern even last year. We had great security personnel working for us as a franchise as well as for the IPL in general. It would be the No. 1 concern even now. We will not leave any stone unturned where security is concerned.

CNN-IBN: The Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA) chief executive Tim May has also said that a number of international players have apparently voiced their concern in the aftermath of of the Lahore attack. Have you been receiving queries from foreign players about the situation on security on ground zero?

Preity Zinta: Not at all. We have a lot of faith in our system. The players who play for us eventually will have to go with that faith. Otherwise, I really can’t comment on them or their position. But as of now, no player — from Sri Lanka to England to West Indies to Australia — no one has come up with a query. Any way, it’s an individual decision and we would respect their personal security concerns. But no one has come up and put forward questions as of now.

CNN-IBN: Now that the dates for the general elections announced, there are quite a few fixtures clashing with the dates for the polls. If at all there is some rescheduling, how much of a concern will it be for your team?

Preity Zinta: I think it will be a concern for every team, though I personally believe that irrespective of the game being on that particular day, I would go back to Mumbai and vote, because it’s extremely important to go and vote. There is no point cribbing about the country and the political clout if you don’t go and vote.

But I don’t see it being such a problem. Matches will move up and down. But we will work around it. Last year when the IPL was set up, we were told that technically any team which hosts the IPL, it would take one year to set it up. But we did it in two months. So I think we can exist in chaos and we can work around it.

Source

Picture Coverage
Indian cricket team at Parliament House
1st ODI between India and New Zealand (Napier, New Zealand)

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