Security beefed up for Australians in South Africa

March 6th, 2009 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, March 6 (IANS) The attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore has prompted the South African cricket authorities to beef-up the security for the visiting Australian team.
Guards and police officers are swarming the team hotel in Durban, venue of the second Test. They wear bullet-proof vests and carry machineguns, patrolling the hotel with grim faces, adding to the overwhelming anxiety caused by the terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

Johannesburg, where the first Test was held last week, is a dangerous city and security was low-key but after the Australian team’s arrival in Durban that coincided with the attacks in Lahore, machinegun-totting security officials are all over.

The Age reported that the Australian team practiced at Sahara Stadium at Kingsmead, Durban, as bullet-proof wearing security personals with machineguns in hand kept a close eye.

“I thought it would be stupid for any extremist group to target cricketers because they just lose so much support,” Australia’s batsman Mike Hussey was quoted as saying by the daily.

“That’s the advice we were often told - but it’s probably a bit of a naive view, really,” he added.

Australia’s wicketkeeper Brad Haddin said: “From the start of the tour, the security has been great. We go through a pre-tour visit before we go to any country to make sure everything is fine. There will obviously be massive concerns now - I don’t know the time period you look at with something like this, but there are obviously going to be massive concerns about touring Pakistan. It has to change the way cricket is viewed in Pakistan.”

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