Fix alert: Commando drive against players at Lanka

Published: Tuesday, September 3, 2002, 15:57 [IST]
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Colombo: Sri Lanka usually deploys elite commandos to protect visiting cricketers and treats them like heads of state. But at the Champions Trophy next week they will be guarded like dangerous criminals. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has sought police protection for the September 12 to 30 Limited Overs tournament, not so much to protect players, but to make sure they do not get up to dirty tricks and throw matches. The Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels are observing a Norwegian-arranged truce, and fears of terrorist attacks have faded. Now, the bigger "threat" comes from players themselves in the wake of the match-fixing scandal. Teams' five-star hotel rooms, dressing rooms at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground, Premadasa international stadium, and anything in between are seen as a potential crime scene."The focus is really on ensuring that we enforce the very strict guidelines set out by the anti-corruption unit of the ICC," a top police source said. "It is going to be a commando operation against match-fixing." More than 300 plain-clothes police will be deployed for the largely covert operations during the tournament, officials said. This will be in addition to uniformed police for usual crowd control at match venues in the capital. Banning mobile phones for cricketers at the match venues and at the team hotel are some of other measures to be adopted to ensure that the players aren't tempted to throw away matches.

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