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Sri Lanka Series

Tigers life in Island: Playing cricket with heightened security





Photo: Collected

|| CF Correspondent ||

Bangladesh skipper Tamim Iqbal arrived at the press conference with a security officer accompanying him in the dais and standing just beside him with eyelids moving suspiciously at the pre-series official press conference at Premadasa Cricket Stadium.

It was learned no cricketers will be allowed to travel alone and they will be followed by high-level security since they are desperate to show that their country is safe for cricket following the Easter massacre that literally shook the world upside down for them,

Things changed dramatically in Sri Lanka after a series of horrifying suicide bombings on three churches and four hotels in Colombo on Easter Sunday (April 21) earlier this year claimed the lives of over 250 while another 500 were left wounded.

The attack was the deadliest event to take place since the Sri Lankan civil war ten years ago. In response, the Sri Lankan government beefed up the security to such an extent that you could find armed forces almost in almost every corner in Colombo.

Three months on, it may seem like Sri Lanka have managed to overcome the horrible tragedy, much like they had after the tsunami in 2004 and the civil war, which lasted nearly thirty years. In reality, however, there a sense of fear and foreboding still seems to cling to people of the city.

Security checkposts are found around almost every corner and anyone that arouses suspicion is checked thoroughly by special armed forces and it was something new considering it only suggested life in Sri Lanka and the seemingly laidback and warm nature of the locals had turned into a rather suspicious one with steely glares being shot about every now and then.

“You know we are yet to overcome the damage of that suicide bombing on Easter Sunday. There is still a sense of fear among the people of this country as the incident was a manmade catastrophe. How can you stop yourself from thinking that perhaps tomorrow someone might once again come up with a suicide bomb and blast it in a temple or even a mosque?” said Taxi driver Dharsena when he was questioned while driving his car to drop the reporter at the hotel at late night.

 “Since that attack, the business has gone down to zero. Sri Lanka is known for its scenic beauty and is one of the top destinations for tourists but since that attack, the number of tourists traveling to our country has decreased drastically,” Herath, with his eyes heavy with disappointment, explained.

The security was just as strict at the Tigers’ team hotel, the Taj Samudra, as you were made to pass at least three security checks before even entering the hotel. In addition, armed body guards were assigned to remain with each member of the Bangladesh team round the clock.

From Sri Lanka’s point of view, the government is trying their level best to bring back normalcy but only time will tell how long it will take for the people of this country to return to business as usual.

From Bangladesh's point of view, they are not losing their sleep over the security and head coach Khaled Mahmud stated that in simple words to the media.

‘’It was one-off incident [the Easter attack],’’ Mahmud told cricfrenzy on Thursday.

‘’You cannot claim that it happens now and then and so we are not extremely worried but certainly SLC have made sure that security arrangements are heightened so that no un towards things happens,’’ he said.

‘’There was a time LTTE used to operate heavily but that is not the case now so we are not extremely worried and to be honest we are quite happy with the prevailing security,’’ he said.