Sri Lankan cricketers fear for safety in India | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Sri Lankan cricketers fear for safety in India

cricket Updated: Nov 15, 2009 01:21 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
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Scarred by the terror attack in Lahore this year that killed six policemen and injured seven players and officials, the Sri Lankan cricket team now fears for its safety in India.

The team, scheduled to play three Tests here, wrote two letters to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the additional commissioner (protection and security) of Mumbai police, saying it is unhappy with the security arrangements.

Maj Gen Lawrence Fernando of the Lanka army, in charge of team security, wrote to the police and team manager Brendon Kuruppu to the BCCI and to Sri Lanka Cricket Board officials. Both expressed anxiety over some incidents during the team’s five-day stay in Mumbai.

The Lankans arrived in the city on November 8 and, after a three-day game, left for Ahmedabad on Saturday. They return to Mumbai for the third Test starting December 2.

On one occasion, Fernando wrote, a vehicle got between the team bus and police escort van. In another, bowling coach Chandika Hathurasinghe heard “unusual noises” at 4.15 a.m, coming from the floor above, at Taj Land’s End, the team’s hotel.

While Kuruppu said their police guards had only “batons and whistles,” Fernando asked for “police commandos carrying automatic weapons to cover both sides of the bus”.

“If they do not have weapons, they will not be able to react in case of a terrorist attack.”

He also requested that police officers at hotels be briefed properly and that at least one officer conversant with English be posted on each floor of the hotel.

The police dismissed the concerns. Vinay Kargaonkar, additional commissioner of police (protection and security), said: “They aren’t experts to decide on security cover. We have studied the locations and given them adequate security.” The BCCI has not yet responded.