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Friday, November 28, 2008

The terror attacks in Mumbai on the night of November 26 that left more than 100 dead and 300 injured has also forced world cricket to tak e a backseat.

India, the financial hotbed for the sport across the world, were scheduled to host the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League in the first week of December with six teams from Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and England confirming participation.

However, the day following the attacks in Mumbai, the governing council of Champions League, headed by Lalit Modi, announced that the tournament has been indefinitely postponed.
"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," Modi said.

Middlesex were expected to arrive in Mumbai on Thursday night but cancelled their visit to India at the last minute after the attacks. Victoria Bushrangers and Western Australia Warriors the two teams from Australia were scheduled to arrive on November 29.

Shane Warne, the captain of the Rajasthan Royals team, cut short his travel to India via Dubai and spoke to the media in the Gulf capital. "No amount of money is worth the risk with what's going on over there (in Mumbai) at the moment," Warne said. The acclaimed leg-spinner was booked at Hotel Taj Mahal during his Mumbai stay, the worst affected place in the aftermath of the terror-strikes.

"I'm shocked," Warne told the media in Singapore. "Darren (Barry) and I got off the plane and saw the news on TV. It's unbelievable. The place is chaos. In Mumbai, that's the hotel (Taj) we are staying at. I don't think we will be going now. Why would you?"

Australia captain Ricky Ponting, though not a member of any of the participating teams, spoke in his capacity as an international cricketer, suggesting the tournament should be shifted to another country.
Cricket South Africa (CSA), meanwhile, have delayed any decision on the Champions League and are awaiting further advice from their department of foreign affairs. CSA's chief executive Gerald Majola said that as of now, CSA has advised their two teams Titans and Dolphins not to travel to India until further notice.

Modi later said that the tournament is now likely to be postponed until next year but will be definitely held in India and not anywhere else. To this, CA, CSA and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have not responded as yet.

"We are confident we can hold the tournament early next year and India will remain the venue, as there was never a problem with hosting it here. All the teams agreed that they wanted to come for the tournament. But we had a problem with finding a third venue after Mumbai. There was no way we could have shifted the venue to Bangalore or Chennai, considering the state of the wickets and the grounds would not have accommodated all the matches," he said.
N Srinivasan, whose team Chennai Super Kings were a part of the tournament, spoke in his capacity as board secretary.

"This unfortunate incident has forced cancellation of all plans. As of now, the tournament has been postponed and that's all I can tell you," he said.


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