Dec 11, 2008 at 11:24am IST

Indian cricketers create fuss over security

Chennai: Indian cricketers are giving police personnel and hotel security a hard time with their "cavalier attitude" that includes sudden disappearances from hotels and objecting to their visitors being frisked, police officials said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh suddenly disappeared from the Taj Coromandel hotel where the team is staying and insisted on travelling without security.

"Since we could not keep tabs on unmarked cars, due to security concerns we were on tenterhooks till they returned. Their destination(s) were unknown," a police official said on condition of anonymity.

HIGH ALERT: A police commando stands guard on the rooftop of MA Chidambaram stadium.

Paramilitary soldiers stand guard at MA Chidambaram stadium, the venue of the first India-England Test match. (AP Photo)

The Indian cricket team's visit to the Tamil Nadu capital for the India-England Test comes soon after the Mumbai terror attacks when luxury hotels were targeted and nobody wants to take any chances.

"While even foreign delegates submit to our stringent checks — both physical and of their luggage — our cricketers' cavalier attitude towards security has left us worried," the official said.

Sources in the five-star Taj Coromandel in the heart of the city — the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel in Mumbai was targeted by terrorists on Nov 26 — said the staff were facing serious problems with visitors to the cricketers' room refusing to be either frisked or questioned.

Police officers with a sniffer dog walk ahead of the first Test cricket match in Chennai. (AP Photo)

According to a hotel official, Zaheer Khan received a guest who was later identified as a local cricketer.

"Khan's guest created a scene when frisked and the cricketer himself used abusive language when requested to identify the visitor."

Chennai Police Commissioner K Radhakrishnan said the cricketers had been clearly instructed about the dos and don'ts due to security reasons.

"Since the cricketers are finicky about their private lives, we are operating with the cooperation of the team management. We are, however, not allowing ourselves to be dragged into controversies," Radhakrishnan told IANS.

MS Dhoni walks with his support staff (left) and security police to attend a press conference. (AP Photo)

"The cricketers' outrageous behaviour is only due to the media's hero worship and nothing more," he added.

According to officials, in the past when there were no security concerns police looked the other way when cricketers received guests - some of them film stars.

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