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T20 Champions League postponed

November 27, 2008 11:39 IST
Last Updated: November 27, 2008 15:33 IST


The terror attacks in Mumbai on Wednesday night have forced the inaugural Twenty20 [Images] Champions League, scheduled to be played in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai from December 3 to 10, to be postponed.

The decision was taken on Thursday afternoon by the Governing Council of the Champions League 2020 after consultations among the three founding board members of the tournament -- the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia [Images] and Cricket South Africa [Images].

Lalit Modi [Images], chairman of the Champions League 2020, said, "We held consultations among all the stakeholders including the founding members, the participating teams and members of the governing council after the unfortunate terrorist attacks in Mumbai on Wednesday night. It was agreed that in the best interests of all concerned, the inaugural edition of the Champions League 2020 should be postponed.

"We very strongly condemn this dastardly and heinous criminal act of a few which has resulted in the loss of precious lives and injury to hundreds. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and we are with them in their hour of grief."

Earlier in the day, Middlesex cancelled their travel plans and Cricket Australia suspended all travel to India.

Middlesex, who were due to arrive in Mumbai on Thursday morning and stay at the Taj Mahal Hotel [Images] -- which came under attack along with the Trident Hotel (formerly Oberoi).

"When we get the relevant reports through we will make a decision [on whether to go] then. As we speak now if we are told everything is fine I am prepared to say we will go but if they [the attacks] are cricket related that puts different slant on it," said Middlesex skipper Shaun Udal [Images] told the Daily Telegraph.

"It is very early to make any knee-jerk decision. The phone has been ringing non-stop with the players wanting to know what is going to happen. We don't know if it is cricket-related or not but it is an enormous coincidence," Udal added.

Cricket Australia, meanwhile, warned its cricketers against touring India.

Western Australia and Victoria were scheduled to play in the tournament. Australian players like Mike Hussey [Images], Matthew Hayden [Images], Shane Watson [Images] and Shane Warne [Images] are in the ranks of Indian teams.

"The state of play at the moment is that we are not expecting to have any really good understanding of what the situation is for the first 12 hours," CA spokesman Peter Young was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press.

Images: Mumbai bleeds | Taj Burns: Video | Video 2

"We are basically on temporary hold while we assess the situation, while we get expert advice and while we consult  all of the parties who are involved. I wouldn't expect we would be doing anything for at least the next 12 hours," he said.

IPL champions Rajasthan Royals [Images] were also due to arrive at the Taj hotel on Thursday morning but have now put their plans on hold while skipper Warne decided to remain in Singapore until a decision is taken on the tournament.

Warne, who was travelling with Darren Berry, Royals director of coaching, said, "I'm shocked. Chuck [Berry] and I got off the plane and saw the news on TV. It's unbelievable. The place is chaos.

"We are heading to Mumbai and that's the hotel we are staying at. I don't think we will be going [to India] now. Why would you?"

He also confirmed that he has decided that it is not worth taking the risk of flying out to India, and would now be heading back to Australia.

"At this stage I am going to stay where I am for the rest of the day, but I reckon we are certainties to be on a flight heading home later today. It is just not worth the risk. No amount of money is worth the risk with what is going on over there at the moment," Warne was quoted as saying by The Herald Sun.

CA's General Manager Michael Brown, who is also the Director of Cricket for the Champions Twenty 20 League did not rule out the tournament getting cancelled.

"All options are on the table," Brown said.

Reports also said that CA lawyer Dean Kino was at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai during the attacks but managed to escape.

Udal, meanwhile, wondered what would have happened if Middlesex, booked at the Taj, had reached Mumbai a day early.

"It's horrific beyond belief," said Udal.

"What has made it particularly disturbing is the fact that we were going to stay at the Taj Palace Hotel 24 hours later," the 39-year-old added.

"That's really brought it to heart. If we had gone out 24 hours earlier then that would have been the Middlesex team. It could have been us. That's what could have happened," said Udal, adding they were looking forward to the trip but would first seek advice regarding their own safety.

"If we are told it is safe to go then we will go. We want to play, but there are more serious issues to consider. We have to consider all the options. I'm sure Middlesex will be in conversations with the [British] Foreign Office.

"If we are told everything is safe then we will go out there and entertain the Indian people and the people watching on TV. I hope we'll make the right decisions - and they will be made as soon as possible."



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