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The likely repercussions of Mumbai terror attack
by Renin Wilben
Nov 28, 2008
Following the latest deadly terror attacks in Mumbai, the England cricket team has decided to leave for home citing security concerns. And though it is disappointing as India were on the verge of whitewashing the Englishmen, it was without doubt the right decision. Having watched the happenings in Mumbai, playing cricket would be the last thing on the minds of the cricketers. The English cricketers would have been in a state of shock as they were put up at the Taj hotel, which was attacked by assailants, when they arrived in India.

At the same time, the much-hyped Champions League T20 has also been postponed. While it is really sad as a lot was expected of the tournament, this is again a sensible choice looking at the current scenario. It is somewhat ironical that just a few days ago, India were concerned about touring terror-hit Pakistan and now they themselves are at the receiving end. Teams would definitely be anxious about touring India in the near future. In fact even Australia's tour of India was under a shadow of doubt following safety issues. So these are tough times ahead for cricket especially in the sub-continent.

It is definitely not the right time to play cricket at the moment but the concern also remains what impact it will have on the future. It is a known fact that cricket is the number one sport in this part of the world and the cricket-crazy public will find it difficult to digest not getting a proper dose of their sport. But with such continuous ghastly attacks, the situation looks very grim.

The Boards can try their best to assure the visiting teams of their safety. However when terror strikes at places where the cricketers themselves are most likely to stay, it will be of little use. It would be absurd to even think of England playing the second Test in Mumbai's CCI which is not too far away from the Taj and the Oberoi - the targets of terrorists.

As it is, they were apprehensive about playing at Guwahati. The only alternative is to shift the game out of Mumbai but then again will the players be sure that they will be safe? Unless that is the case, there would be no point in playing cricket as the cricketers would be concerned more about the danger to the lives than playing the sport.

It would be disheartening if matches featuring India are played outside the country like it is happening with Pakistan. But the situation cannot be ruled out considering the amount of beating India has taken at the hands of the terrorists in the recent past.

The decision of the opposition boards will also be aided by the apparent revelation that the extremists targeted foreigners especially those of US and UK origin in this latest incident that took place in Mumbai. And unless there is a sustained period in which there are no terror attacks, teams visiting India will remain a bit wary.

The BCCI has said that the though the last two ODIs have been cancelled, the Englishmen would return for the Test series. That however would depend on the situation in India in the next couple of weeks. The problem though is that it might be too short a tenure for England to recover from the shock.

Meanwhile, it would also be intriguing to see what happens to the Champions League. Will it be played in India or will be shifted out? A lot of questions of the minds of the cricket lovers. These of course will be answered in the due course of time but for the moment cricket can take a backseat. There are bigger battles to be fought.

 
More Views by Renin Wilben
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  The sad demise of Windies cricket
  West Indies Vs England: A Review - Column by Renin Wilben
  SA potent enough to upset Australia
  NZ-WI: An engrossing battle on the cards
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