Aussies expect tight security for Sri Lanka tour
Melbourne: Cricket Australia says it will hold its Sri Lankan counterparts to promises of tight security for its upcoming tour, despite an 80 per cent cut to the series` security budget.
Australian Associated Press quoted a CA spokesman today saying Australian officials in Sri Lanka on a routine pre-tour visit last week were assured by Sri Lanka Cricket that security for August`s three-Test series would be similar to that provided for the recent World Cup.
Yesterday, Sri Lanka Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage ordered the tour`s 50-million-rupee (USD 450,000) security budget slashed to just nine million rupees (USD 80,000), saying he was confident the nation`s military and police could provide "very good security at a fraction of the cost."
The CA spokesman said the cricket board was happy with the original security commitments and would "stay close to (Sri Lankan organisers) as the tour date gets closer to make sure there are no changes to those details."
Australia had pulled out of tours in the past citing misgivings over security, and CA said that should be taken as a precedent.
"Our actions have spoken louder than our words on this issue," the CA spokesman said.
Australian Cricketers` Association chief executive Paul Marsh backed that stance.
"Player safety and security is paramount to us and we expect these (promised) measures will be in place for the tour," Marsh said.
As well as three Tests, Australia is scheduled to play five One-day matches and two Twenty20 internationals during the August 6 to September 20 tour.