No special Australian security for Murali
Cricket Australia denied introducing special security measures for Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.cricket Updated: Oct 26, 2007 17:16 IST
Cricket Australia on Friday denied introducing special security measures to protect Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan from crowds Down Under, saying existing measures would catch any offenders.
Muralitharan arrived this week for his first full Australia Test tour in 12 years, braced for a chilly reception from fans as he bids to break local hero Shane Warne's Test wicket record.
His arrival on Wednesday raised eyebrows when a federal police officer escorted him through the media throng in Adelaide, unusual in laid-back Australia, where England players last year often mingled freely with fans.
'Sydney Morning Herald'
reported today that plain clothes security officers would be sent to sections of Australian grounds near Muralitharan's fielding positions to swifty identify and eject trouble-makers.
There are fears the Sri Lankan could receive unsportsmanlike treatment in Australia, where he has been called for "throwing" on two previous tours and subjected to constant crowd calls of "no ball."
Sensitivities about crowd behaviour in Australia are particularly high after the recent one-day series in India, when the only black player in the Australian side, Andrew Symonds, was subjected to racist chants.
Muralitharan boycotted a 2004 tour to Australia because of constant crowd abuse about his bowling action - and Australian Prime Minister John Howard's assertion that he was a "chucker".
Cricket Australia said its existing crowd monitoring programme, introduced after South African players were racially abused two years ago, would protect Muralitharan.
"There's not a specific Muralitharan protection programme," Cricket Australia public affairs manager Peter Young told AFP.
"But we have a national programme to ensure that we have a family friendly environment in cricket, and as part of that we do have plain clothes people in crowds.
"We (also) have closed circuit television and any spectator who subjects a player to inappropriate behaviour will be detected and ejected very, very quickly."
'Murali' needs just nine wickets to overhaul Warne's 708 Test scalps in the Test matches in Brisbane and Hobart starting on November 8 and 16.