Tight security for Australians

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Australian players fearful of retribution after recent controversies involving Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be given extra security during the coming World Cup on the subcontinent.

The players' union has asked the Australian Cricket Board to press for tighter security at the limited-overs tournament being staged in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka next month.

Graham Halbish, the ACB chief executive, revealed in Melbourne's The Age newspaper yesterday that, because of these fears, the Australian team will be protected 24 hours a day by armed guards at their hotel, with extra security at grounds and airports.

Several Australian players have recently received threatening letters and Halbish added: "Some of the stuff has been quite frightening."

Australia's Test series against Pakistan late last year was overshadowed by a bribery affair surrounding Pakistan's former captain and batsman, Salim Malik, while their current Test series was also disrupted when Sri Lanka were found guilty and then cleared of ball tampering during last month's first Test.