It would be wise of English players to take a second opinion before travelling to India

Travelling on Indian roads can make players feel vulnerable

London: Former England coach Duncan Fletcher on Wednesday blasted the security system in India, which he feels is far more casual than anywhere else in the subcontinent, and asked Kevin Pietersen and Co. to think twice on travelling there for the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Seek second opinion

Fletcher, who has been roped in by Cricket South Africa to work with its national team as a consultant, said it would be wise of English players to take a second opinion before travelling to India in the aftermath of the Lahore terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers.

“If I were one of the England guys who signed up for the Indian Premier League, I would be concerned,” Fletcher said. “Less than four years ago I was part of the England tour party to Pakistan that came in for criticism from sections of the media for going overboard on security. “But if yesterday’s events in Lahore showed us anything, it’s that you can never be too careful,” the former Zimbabwe skipper wrote in his column for Guardian.

The 60-year-old felt travelling on Indian roads can make players feel vulnerable and the traffic often makes them sitting ducks to terrorist strikes. There were times on that tour of Pakistan when the security was at a presidential level — with the exception of Karachi — they cleared roads for us on the way to stadiums and lined them with armed guards.

“India is different. The traffic is often so bad in the big cities where a lot of the cricket is played that the coach can move along only slowly at times, which turns it into a sitting duck for terrorists.

“There’s nothing stopping a tuk-tuk (autorickshaw) pulling up alongside and detonating a bomb. I would be very nervous because that kind of attack is much easier to carry out in India, and these guys can attack when they like,” said Fletcher.

Concern in Australia

In Melbourne, former Australian pace spearhead Glenn McGrath said: “It does hit home a lot more, being a cricketer. With the IPL coming up there’s concerns there too, being quite close to Pakistan.

Compatriot Shane Watson, who won the player of the tournament in last year’s IPL playing for the Rajasthan Royals, said the incident left him shocked and he would consider touring India if FICA gives the green signal.

“You’re never safe anywhere, to be fair. It’s part and parcel of the world environment at the moment, more than just a certain region. I love playing cricket and if the opportunity is there to go to India, I will be there with bells on,” Watson added.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, who had already withdrawn from this year’s IPL, said the participation of other Australians in the tournament could not be guaranteed. — Agencies

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