Elaborate security blanket over knockout matches

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2011, 10:06 AM IST

New Delhi: Unprecedented security arrangements have been put in place for Thursday`s sellout World Cup quarter-final between India and Australia in Ahmedabad although organisers say there has been no specific threat.

Security has been high on the World Cup agenda with co-hosts India also due to stage the March 30 semi-final in Mohali and the April 2 final in Mumbai.

"Security for the quarter-final will be much more robust than the two earlier matches," city police commissioner Amitabh Pathak told local media.

"We get inputs regarding terror threats from time to time. We are in touch with intelligence bureau officials but there is no specific threat for this match."

The joint secretary of the Punjab Cricket Association G S Walia told reporters everything was place for the Mohali semi-final, which could feature India against Pakistan.

"Everything is under control and all plans are in place. We are ready to host an India-Pakistan match in case it turns out to be so," Walia said.

"Everything is being taken care of by the government so we have nothing to worry about."

The 2009 armed attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore shattered any illusion that athletes enjoyed any kind of immunity in a volatile region and since that incident Pakistan has not hosted an international match on home soil.

The feelgood in the tournament was soured when police baton-charged fans seeking tickets in Bangalore, Nagpur and, on Monday, in Ahmedabad.

A shortage of tickets incited irate fans to vandalism and organisers have now abandoned plans to sell some tickets for the final through box offices.

"I cannot share the number but, yes, all the tickets for the final match is being sold only through ballot and none through box offices," KyaZoonga chief executive Neetu Bhatia told reporters.

"Ballot is the most democratic way of doing the job, it`s fair and square. When the gap between demand and supply is too high, ballot is one of the better ways to deal with the situation."

Also, according to local media reports, an image-conscious Mumbai Police plan to deploy only fit and good-looking officers for the final match.

The reports said the police commissioner had asked his department to make sure that overweight and tobacco-chewing officers were not put on duty for the match.

Bureau Report