Shiv Sena's recent entry into the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office ahead of BCCI president Shashank Manohar's meeting with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shahryar Khan created a sense of alarm in the touring South African camp as well.
Although the South African team's media manager denied any sort of special guidelines concerning the safety of their Pakistan-born spinner Imran Tahir, sunday mid-day learns that there was caution exercised when it came to the movements of Tahir.
"There were instructions from the team management that Tahir should not leave the team hotel at any point of time when in Mumbai. Since Tahir is born in Pakistan, the team management took extra security precaution. It was only to avoid any untoward incident," a source close to the South African team said on Saturday.
Tahir was keen to take his wife Sumayya Dildar and 18-month-old baby boy Gibraan to various places in Mumbai. "Tahir was planning to take them shopping at some malls and also wanted to visit the iconic Haji Ali dargah. He wanted to explore all that he had heard and read about Mumbai. Unfortunately, he could not do it this time," the source said. (All About India vs South Africa)
Tahir and his family have been ordering special dinner from a vegetarian hotel near the team hotel. "Tahir's wife is a vegetarian and she likes phulka rotis. Tahir too loves the food from that hotel, especially the rabdi," said the source.
South Africa's media manager said there were no special security measures in place for Tahir. "It is general security that we have for all other players in the team. There is nothing extraordinary for Imran Tahir," she said.
Tahir is one of the biggest crowd-pullers from the South African team. He got a loud cheer from the Indian fans at the Wankhede Stadium during the ODI last Sunday. The reception was even better at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday when he came on to bowl during the two-day warm-up tie vs Board President's XI.
The South African cricketers were on their way from Rajkot to Chennai when the Shiv Sainiks entered the BCCI office at the Wankhede Stadium and shouted anti-Pakistan slogans on October 19. Following the incident, security was beefed up at the Trident hotel where the PCB chief was staying.
The BCCI had to eventually call off the meeting where they were to talk about the possibility of playing a bilateral series in December. The International Cricket Council wasted no time in replacing Elite Umpire Aleem Dar from the October 25 fifth and final ODI at the Wankhede Stadium.