COLOMBO - Gary Pappin surveys the scene from the nets tucked by the tree line at fine leg, a sweat-soaked towel and chilly bin within reach.

But as New Zealand's cricketers wilt during their match against a Development 11 at the Nondescripts Cricket Club, he is not only on the lookout for bowlers in need of rehydration between overs.

Keeping Jeetan Patel and Chris Martin refreshed is a relatively menial task for the Queenslander; ensuring the duo and their teammates travel to and from the cossetted surroundings of the Cinnamon Grand on Galle Rd without incident is his primary concern.

Pappin's presence on New Zealand's tour of Sri Lanka is indicative of the safeguards elite cricketers are obliged to accept when visiting the subcontinent.

Pakistan is off limits indefinitely after Sri Lanka's team bus was targeted by terrorists in March; The Indian Premier League had to relocate to South Africa because it coincided with the general election; Sri Lanka, where the suicide bomber originated, is still on edge as the population emerges from a quarter-century of ethnic bloodshed.

The civil war waged between the Sinhalese-dominated armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has officially ceased. But given the Black Caps' experiences on previous visits -- tours in 1987 and 1993 were disrupted by bomb blasts in Colombo -- New Zealand Cricket enlisted Pappin to ensure the team was as safe as possible.

He critiqued and was impressed by the security measures available to touring teams on his first visit to the island last month when Pakistan embarked on their tour, and remains confident the system is effective.

"What you look for is the layers of security they have. Are there contingencies in place if things do go wrong, what's their plan?" he said.

New Zealand has been accorded the same VIP status as the Pakistanis, so their daily journey to training or match venues is carried out with military precision.

The team coach is sandwiched by a police escort, machine gun-toting army personnel and an ambulance.

Traffic can and will be stopped, a 45-minute trip is more than cut in half.

Clearly the less time on the road the better, and the players will also rarely be seen on the capital's pavements.

Although the British and Australian consulates feel tensions have eased, Colombo is effectively a no-go zone for Daniel Vettori's men.

They are secreted away on their own private floor at the Cinnamon Grand before the central city goes into lock down at 10pm.

Like clockwork, extra barricades are erected near key military installations and government buildings and anyone travelling is questioned at multiple checkpoints, as they are in daylight.

Pappin said the team had had some supervised and pre-planned shopping excursions but were basically confined to their accommodation, where guards monitor the grounds, entrance, foyer, and elevators.

"We're keeping things fairly tight, just to avoid the chance of anything occurring, not just a terrorist situation," said Pappin, who has previously coordinated security for India and South Africa at the ICC World Twenty20.

"Their schedule means there's not a lot of free time anyway."

Meanwhile, team management tried to ensure the team could eat safely at any of the nine bars and restaurants on the premises by inspecting the kitchen facilities after checking in.

The hotel even canvassed guests after Jesse Ryder succumbed to a stomach bug after going shopping.

"They had an investigation and no one else was sick so they don't believe it was something he ate at the hotel," Pappin said.

- NZPA