security

The bodyguards reportedly follow the players everywhere — to the nets, pitch-side, press conferences, dinner tables and even shopping malls © AFP (Representational Photo)

Cardiff: Jun 18, 2013

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has hired private bodyguards for the Indian team playing in England and Wales in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013, in order to make sure the players are undisturbed.

The BCCI has hired Tinus, a South African, and Craig Weatherly, an Australian. The ICC, meanwhile, has provided Kyle Gould, who is an Englishman. NDTV journalist Soumitra Bose described the trio as “hunks [who] look like the bad men in Western movies. Big, bald-headed and with a mean demeanor, they are intensely guarding the jewels of Indian cricket!”

The trio reportedly follow the players everywhere — to the nets, pitch-side, press conferences, dinner tables and even shopping malls.

Out of the three, Tinus is a familiar with the Indians. ‘Tiny’, as he is interestingly called, hails from Pretoria and is on his second assignment with Team India. The first was when India toured South Africa in 2010-11. Tinus has also worked with IPL teams Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils. He was also on duty when the IPL was staged in South Africa in 2009.

All three are private security guards and are trained in hand-to-hand combat, reported NDTV. However, they do not carry any weapons or firearms.

Explaining the reason behind keeping bodyguards for the team, a senior team source told NDTV: “Familiarity breeds contempt. These foreigners are professionals and have no attachment with an Indian player. They have been given a job to do and they will just do it. So it’s a big advantage not to have Indians.”

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one of the bodyguards said the hacking of a British soldier by two men in London last month has necessitated the “extra” protection. “You never know who is a terrorist. They can kill anytime and cricketers are soft targets,” he said.

“It’s been nice keeping an eye on the boys,” said another one. “They are not naughty and they are quite respectful. It works well both ways.” He also said that the IPL scandal has made the players extra careful and it is helping manage them better.

While the inclement weather has restricted the team from going out a lot, one of the bodyguards said: “Even when they go out, our job is to mingle with them and make sure the crowd doesn’t disturb them too much.”