Calcutta: The Indian cricketers and support staff have been “instructed” to strictly follow the security-do’s and don’ts listed by the Sri Lankan authorities as well as our own High Commission, in Colombo.
“An advisory was given when we landed… From this afternoon, though, everybody connected with the team has been instructed not to deviate from what has been laid down,” manager Sanjay Jagdale told The Telegraph.
Speaking from the Taj Samudra, on Monday evening, he added: “There’s no panic… We’ve had a team meeting and I briefed the players and fellow officials about my discussions with our diplomats and Sri Lanka Cricket…”
According to Jagdale (who was the manager in 2005, as well) he’d specifically raised the security issue with the High Commission soon after landing in Colombo, but nobody said anything to suggest an immediate review was needed.
Among other restrictions, there’s a ban on accepting gifts from ‘well-wishers’ and interacting (in any manner) with “strangers.”
Most of the other restrictions are routine for the subcontinent as also when, for example, the team tours South Africa: No going out alone, moving in groups and never staying out till late.
Unlike last year, when the High Commission had assigned a security officer (K. N. Murali, now an assistant commissioner in Chennai), to be with the team throughout, somebody or the other has only been around on trips outside the hotel.
That may now change.
New Delhi, by the way, didn’t send a recce team — as was done before the 2005 trip to Sri Lanka — but High Commissioner Nirupama Rao maintained that shouldn’t be seen as a “failing.”
“One big reason why an advance party came last year was that we had to play in Dambulla, too… This time, such a visit wasn’t deemed necessary,” she explained.
Incidentally, coach Greg Chappell’s wife and vice-captain Virender Sehwag’s better-half are part of the touring party.
Footnote: Back in 1993, there were two bomb explosions at a temple when the Indians, led by Mohammed Azharuddin, were in Colombo. Six got killed, but we’d stayed put.