Pre-tour security inspection should become mandatory: Mills

June 20th, 2009 - 9:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Auckland, June 20 (IANS) New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association chief Heath Mills said pre-tour security inspection of major cricket countries in the world should become a standard practice.
New Zealand is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka in August and September. Mills, with New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) manager Geoff Allott, and a security company representative will visit the country.

Sri Lanka is a hotspot on the cricket security map, with a long-running civil war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces reported to have ended recently.

The New Zealand Tamil Society also has asked NZC and the government not to send the Black Caps. It claims 20,000 lives were lost in the final offensive to quell the insurgents.

Mills said escalating terrorism in the past year had prompted a rethink about security.

“Security is probably now the biggest issue in the game. New Zealand Cricket, as the employer, needs to ensure the safety of the players in their workplace,” Mills was quoted as saying in the New Zealand media Friday.

“These inspections should become standard practice and part and parcel of basically every tour overseas,” he said.

Mills said the International Players Association had raised grave concerns to the International Cricket Council about the staging of the Champions Trophy 50-over tournament in Pakistan last year.

“There was a lot of pressure for the event to go ahead but, eventually, the ICC listened and postponed it. Thank heavens, they did, as a bomb went off in a hotel at the time when the teams would have been staying.”

In March, the Sri Lankan team was ambushed by gunmen in Pakistan as they travelled to the ground at Lahore, with eight Pakistanis killed and some players injured.

Australia conducted such an assessment ahead of their team’s Ashes tour of England.

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