It’s a level of security detail usually reserved solely for a President — and England’s cricketers had better get used to it.
During its month-long tour of Bangladesh the sight of armed guards, rooftop snipers, sniffer dogs and bomb disposal units will become extremely familiar.
As the team left the ring of steel around its Dhaka hotel to venture to training, a decoy coach with blacked out windows was even deployed to confuse any would-be terrorists.
“A lot has been made about the problems they had and the attacks earlier in the year but once Reg (Dickason) had given his OK then you’ve got to trust him,” England captain Jos Buttler told journalists at his first press conference in the country.
Those attacks in July claimed 21 lives, 18 of them foreign nationals, when terrorists targeted a bakery popular with tourists in the capital.
Refused to travel
Dickason is England’s team security officer, who visited the country several times before declaring it safe to tour.
Prior to July’s mass shooting, Australia canceled its tour of Bangladesh in October 2015 on government advice, then withdrew its Under-19 side from the World Cup at the beginning of 2016.
Buttler is filling in as skipper after England’s one-day captain Eoin Morgan refused to travel saying he had vowed never to put himself in a position where security would become a distraction. Opening batsman Alex Hales also opted not to go.
Despite roads being closed and armed guards accompanying the team coach on the short journey to the Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium, Buttler said his players had to block out those concerns.
“Visually there is a lot of security but that is part and parcel of making the tour OK and now we are here we can start focusing on the cricket,” he said.
“In terms of coming to places like this, I don’t think it’s been that different from what I expected and what it’s been before.
“The Board left no stone unturned coming here and when you walk into a room and see so many people here you understand the passion,” added Buttler, referring to English cricket’s governing body the England and Wales Cricket Board.
If England’s players need a reminder how an international cricket team can become a high-profile target they need look no further than their head coach.
He was unhurt, but six players were injured and six Pakistani policeman and two civilians were killed in the attack. No international team has toured Pakistan since.
England play two Tests and three one-day internationals with Bangladesh, two in Dhaka and one in Chittagong, before heading to India, where it can expect similar levels of security.