Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
It has been announced that up to 11 United States players may pull out of the International Cricket Council (ICC) WCL Division Three tournament in Uganda next month.
This comes after news broke that a terrorist plot had been foiled in Kampala on September 13. As a result, the US Embassy issued a 24-hour warning for all American citizens in the country to stay at home or seek shelter in a safe place.
ICC global development manager Tim Anderson also sent a letter to all participating nations on September 16, which addressed the ICC’s concerns about the tournament being held in Uganda.
“As you may be aware, a security related incident took place in Kampala, Uganda in recent days, and is now being widely reported in the international media,” Anderson wrote. “I wish to advise you that ICC’s security advisors are continuing to coordinate with various authorities on the ground in Kampala in order to understand the extent of this incident, and to ascertain the impact it may have on staging the event in Uganda.”
US Embassy officials in Kampala have warned all American citizens to be vigilant when travelling since members of al-Shabaab, who are a Somalia-based terrorist organisation, “may still be at large in the city”.
Many United States players have called on the ICC to provide better security for the tournament, especially after the foiled terrorist plot just last week.
“If this tour is treated like other tours in terms of security, no way will I go,” one player told ESPNcricinfo.
Another player stated that it all depends on how many of his team-mates pull out of the tournament, and whether tournament organisers and officials can get more security before the WCL Division Three competition gets underway on October 26.
“If a bunch of new guys are going and there are no senior guys, including some of my good friends on the team because they’ve pulled out over safety concerns, then no I won’t go,” the player said.
The player added that he was disappointed and shocked at the lack of communication from the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA).
“I am definitely very concerned with what is going on in Uganda,” the player said. “I want to see what USACA will do. I’m very passionate about representing the USA and want to go, but if the situation is crazy then I won’t go. If other countries are going and the ICC says it will be safe, then I want to go. If USACA doesn’t send a team, I’ll be upset if we don’t go but I’ll understand and support their decision because Americans are targets.”
As of right now, only four out of 19 USA players said that they were still committed to playing the tournament in Uganda.
However, USACA board member Krish Prasad told ESPNcricinfo last week that the United States will send a team unless “something goes out of hand or we find out that the situation warrants us to not send a team”.
“If a majority of players are reading and following the news, it’s because it’s for their concern, safety and security. If we get 18 guys and 12 of them tell us they’re not going because of these facts over safety issues…Americans are always on the target list,” Prasad said. “We have to be extra careful. If something like that comes up, then obviously we have no choice but to say we can’t go. We can’t take the responsibility of sending guys there beyond their wishes or ignore safety, security or health issues.”