Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo
Duleep Mendis, the chief executive of Sri Lanka Cricket, does not believe New Zealand need to resort to "Haliburton" measures to ensure the security of their cricket team on the forthcoming tour of the island. Justin Vaughan, the chief executive of New Zealand Cricket, told the Sunday Star-Times that the terror attacks in Lahore could result in national boards hiring security firms, much like government contractors in war-torn Iraq, to ensure the safety of their teams on future tours.
Mendis, though, was confident SLC could provide top-level security for the New Zealanders during a year in which tensions between Sri Lankan government forces and the LTTE have escalated into civil war.
"I don't think there is any reason for anyone to be worried or alarmed about the security situation here," Mendis told Cricinfo. "We have had foreign teams touring here without any problem. We hosted the Indian team this year, and that series got through without a hitch. We have a very capable security apparatus in place and there is nothing to worry for New Zealand Cricket."
Vaughan said conventional thinking regarding cricket security had been forever changed by the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team and ICC match officials outside the gates of the Gaddafi Stadium. The New Zealand team is due to travel to Sri Lanka in August, then Bangladesh and India in 2010, and Vaughan foreshadowed a major upgrading of the security around the team.
Lahore has changed the landscape,'' Vaughan told the Sunday Star-Times. The stakes have lifted considerably and we have to be very careful in the advice we take. We need to take security to a higher level, possibly we have to look at the way [US government contractor] Halliburton and other US contractors in Iraq operate. Certainly it isn't an area we're willing to short-cut.''
Heath Mills, the head of the New Zealand Cricket Players Association, told the paper that several members of the New Zealand squad had already quizzed him about security arrangements for the tour of Sri Lanka.
"Security now is the biggest threat to the game," Mills said. "It has surpassed corruption, and we have to have world-class security. We will not be making recommendations to our players on whether to go or not unless we're 100% confident in the security check process and the recommendations that flow from it.''