Due to the recent, explicit threats, to be on the safe side, armed guards are travelling with the Kookaburras throughout this World Cup, from start to finish.
But hockey isn't the only sport being targeted. A Pakistani militant with links to al-Qaeda, Ilyas Kashmiri, has been reported in The Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online as sending this message by email. "We warn the international community not to send their people to the 2010 Hockey World Cup, IPL (Indian Premier League Cricket Twenty/20 competition) and Commonwealth Games. Nor should their people visit India - if they do, they will be responsible for the consequences.''
Meanwhile, the Hindu political party Shiv Sena had reiterated its ban. "We would not allow them to set foot on Indian soil,'' the Shiv Sena leader, Bal Thackeray, told party workers. ''Indians are being attacked in Australia. Therefore, I have said that we would not allow Australian cricketers to play in our country on Australian cricketers playing in Mumbai in the IPL, which starts next month."
But Shiv Sena have now withdrawn that ban on the IPL and the World Cup Hockey Tournament's security has been upgraded with both military and police contingents although the New Zealand hockey team may now not go to India due to such threats.
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson, cricket chaplain of 26 years and an author of five books on field hockey, has recently documented that, there may come a time when India will be unable to host any international sporting event, similar to the current situation with Pakistan.
The head of security for the IPL conceded that airtight safety cannot be guaranteed following the threats. Bob Nicholls, the head of Nicholls Steyn and Associates, said organisers may have to reconsider hosting the event. Australian IPL cricketer Shane Warne has now come out and said the IPL may need to relocate its matches to Africa.
Yet Indian authorities are both downplaying the threats and ensuring their utmost in safety as the entire nation gets held to ransom because athletes are increasingly being seen as easy targets. They do not want the same situation as the Sri Lankan cricket team experienced this in Pakistan last year.
India is at the crossroads. Its international reputation is at stake. But there may be some good news. The Australian Shooting Team is in India this week for an international competition and their fellow international competitors may well be in the perfect situation to instruct Indian Police to improve their accuracy for any unfortunate eventuality.