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Chennai Template to be followed for IPL 2: Lalit Modi
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Mumbai: Even after the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team at Lahore, IPL Chairman and Commissioner, Lalit Modi and BCCI officials did not let their aplomb diminish to conduct the IPL Season II from April 10 to May 24.

The Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s positive statements last Friday helped matters after the IPL agreed to reschedule the event so that the Twenty20 programme dates do not clash with the Lok Sabha election dates in order to get adequate security personnel at IPL venues.

In this interview to The Hindu Mr. Modi says the Chennai Template for the India-England Test series would be the yardstick for security provisions.

It’s not been a particularly good week for you; first the RCA elections, then the shocking events in Lahore that put the spanner in the works on the IPL season II.

The events that transpired in Lahore were indeed shocking. Thank God all the Sri Lankan cricketers are safe and back home with their loved ones.

The RCA election is now in the past and I have moved on. Just to set the record straight, the development and good work done during the last four years at the RCA is evident and visible for everyone to see. What transpired in Jaipur on March 1 had political connotations to it.

We were always aware of the upcoming general elections and the importance of the same for a vibrant democracy such as ours. And so were prepared to work around the polling dates to ensure that there was no clash of IPL matches with the election dates. So there is no question of any nightmares.

The BCCI stuck its neck out through Mr. Shashank Manohar’s statements that the IPL must go on. Security — quite lax at a number of centres last year — ought to be a top priority now?

The support of the BCCI President — Mr. Manohar — was indeed important and special. Security has always been accorded the highest priority by the BCCI.

Immediately after the Mumbai attacks last year the BCCI undertook a comprehensive security review and has worked towards creating a security template in conjunction with an external agency that is widely known as the best in the field.

It’s on the Chennai Security Template that we were able to convince the ECB for England to return to India. We will apply this same template for player and spectator security during the IPL Season II.

The security for the entire tournament has been handed over to South African firm Nicholls Steyn and Associates. We will also work closely with the Union, State and local authorities to ensure the smooth and successful conduct of the tournament.

The Home Minister’s clarification must have eased matters a bit. All said and done there are people who attempt to break rules to get close to the players, dressing rooms and also at hotels. How do you intend to deal with this sensitive issue? IMG has pointed out shortcomings?

I have thanked the Home Minister and his clarification on Friday helped quash the media frenzy that took place over the previous days. The key now is to revise the schedule.

As for the player dressing room issue, I reiterate that the IPL will be played under the New Playing Guidelines and all our franchisees and officials will simply have to abide by the same.

As far as the IMG report is concerned, we took action based on it last year as a post season report and all recommendations were approved at the Bangkok Conference. We will be implementing the same this season.

The IPL had gone into the last season without knowing what to expect and wanted to ensure we had checks and balances in place for the future and thus asked IMG for each areas to be reported and also what needs to be done.

Will the BCCI and IPL launch a campaign to educate spectators (similar to the ICC’s anti-racism campaign) that their co-operation would go a long way in the ultimate success of the IPL?

Awareness of the things around you would definitely be an integral part of our campaign to promote safety and security during the IPL. The Mumbai Police recently launched a similar awareness campaign named ALERT MUMBAIKAR to urge people in the island city to be more aware of their surroundings. I think a similar campaign would be the order of the day.

Are you going to talk to the other Boards to encourage/persuade their players to participate in the IPL. Many players, especially from New Zealand have expressed reservations?

India is a safe country! I think we do not need to go out and explain that fact to anyone. However, we do understand the concerns of players and their families on coming down to India for the IPL.

Would you say that the franchise owners too would have to take their share of responsibility?

Each and every member of the IPL family including our franchisees will play their part in ensuring the safe conduct of the league in 2009.

Is there a likelihood of stricter measures planned for spectators’ access to the venues?

Life will definitely not be the same, of that I can assure you. Take the example of the United States where post 9/11, things have changed quite dramatically.

Would the security deployment for IPL 2 and 3 (2010) be a dry run for the 2011 World Cup?

The BCCI’s Chennai Template should help us set the standard for safety and security in world cricket.

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