30 Jun 2009

Pakistan gets top security in Sri Lanka

6:00 am on 30 June 2009

Pakistan's cricket team is receiving security on its tour of Sri Lanka that is equivalent to a head of state, with more than 100 personnel having been assigned to protect the visitors.

Sri Lanka Cricket official Charith Senanayake says stringent measures have been put in place, particularly focusing on security along the routes from hotels to match venues.

The Pakistan team arrived on Sunday to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match from July 4.

Sri Lanka's team was attacked on its way to play a Test against Pakistan on March 3rd in Lahore by more than a dozen heavily armed gunmen in an ambush.

Six police officers and a driver were killed and seven members on Sri Lanka's bus were wounded.

Teams visiting Sri Lanka have had security issues in the past, with New Zealand in 1997 and South Africa in 2006 both returning home halfway through tours following bomb blasts near their hotels.

In 1992, a suicide bomber caused half of New Zealand's team to fly home. The team was not targeted in the explosion.

However, Sri Lanka is now perceived to be safer after the military defeat of separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in May ended their 25-year insurgency.