CWG would provide benchmark on security for World Cup: Shetty
Mumbai: Cricket authorities look upon the upcoming Commonwealth Games in October, the biggest multi-sport extravaganza India would be hosting in almost three decades, to provide the blueprint on security planning for the 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent.
"I think the true test for all of us will be the Commonwealth Games going off successfully. That will put the benchmark for us about the security arrangements and plans that have to be (put in place)," said World Cup Tournament Director Professor Ratnakar Shetty in an exclusive interview here.
The October 3-14 Games in Delhi, involving 17 disciplines, is going to be the biggest assembly of athletes, sports officials and fans after the 1982 Asian Games held in the national capital.
Shetty said the level of security for the February-March World Cup would be on a much higher scale than what would normally be the case for a bilateral series held in the sub-continent, barring a contest between India and Pakistan.
"Definitely the level of security will be much more than what you see at a bilateral series that we host. The security levels are different when Pakistan play in India from (what is present) when we play against other countries.”
"Therefore, there`s a benchmark for that which the government has. They base that on the risk assessment," he said.
Shetty, who is also the BCCI`s Chief Administrative Officer, said all the three cricket boards hosting the mega event (India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) have already appointed their own security managers.
"All the three boards have appointed a security manager. That`s the requirement of ICC Executive Board. India has also appointed its own security manager now, which will be announced in a couple of days.”
"The person who is appointed will co-ordinate all security arrangements, security plans that we have to put up, liaise with the government for all this. That`s a big step," he said.
Shetty said due to recent happenings in this part of the globe, providing top class security to all parties concerned is a very important task and the respective country`s government`s help was vital.
"There`s no doubt security is an important aspect while organising an event in the Asian sub continent. People have doubts in a big way because of the events that have taken place in this part of the world. But government support for these events is extremely important," he said.
"You may employ private security and ICC consultants and all that but at the end of the day I think it`s your government which stands with you and provides fool proof security that is there.”
"Fortunately the Indian government has always extended total help whether it`s the Pakistan series, which was the most difficult in terms of security, or any international event, which is there. I think that`s the plus point that we have. The governments of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also are totally backing this event," Shetty said.
Shetty, a treasurer of the Mumbai Cricket Association which is to host the World Cup final, was gung-ho about all the preparations for the showpiece event of cricket, which was last played in the sub-continent in 1996.
But he was a bit apprehensive about the new visa rules put in place by the Indian government that restricts re-entry of tourists into the country within a two-month period, but was confident this would be sorted out.
"As per the new visa rules, for any foreigner who comes on a tourist visa and leaves the country there has to be a gap of at least two months before he comes back. This is the only issue that will come up because, for example, England play matches in Bangladesh and India. If somebody who is following its team goes from India to Bangladesh and wants to come back to India, it could create a problem.”
"There are people who have expressed this apprehension. ICC (International Cricket Council) also has informed us the concerns expressed by spectators who want to come for World Cup. We have put in an appeal to the government.”
"One of the reasons why World Cup was allotted to India along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was because the Prime Minister of India had given us a letter extending full support of the government," the tournament director said.
"We have made an appeal to the government as to how best this can be resolved, at least for genuine ticket holders. I`m sure the government will be positive towards this. It`s not there in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Even in India this rule was introduced only in the last four months," he said.
Talking about the preparations, Shetty said in India it has been left to the eight individual associations - Mumbai, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Gujarat, Vidarbha, Karnataka and Punjab -- that have been allotted World Cup ties to take up the responsibility of preparing the venues.
"Normally, as it happens in India, we have a decentralised system. The Board (BCCI) does not organise the matches actually (directly). The state associations have taken up the responsibility.”
"In Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, it`s the cricket board which organises the matches, and it`s not allotted to any association. That`s the major difference (between the three boards)," he said.
Conceding there were some concerns about getting the Wankhede Stadium, which is still undergoing revamp, and Delhi`s Ferozshah Kotla ground, where the main wicket was faulty, ready for the mega-event, Shetty said now things looked to be on track.
"In India, as far as the preparations of the grounds go, the only concern, which we had, is the Wankhede Stadium which is undergoing massive renovations. The ground is being redeveloped. As of now Wankhede Stadium is on proper line, the wicket has been prepared and the outfield work has started.”
"Of other grounds we all know the Delhi wicket had posed problems. Venkat Sundaram has undertaken massive repairs to the wicket with the supervision of (ICC pitch consultant) Andy Atkinson," Shetty said.
"At all other venues, IPL matches were played recently and they went off well. We were really bothered about only these two venues -- Delhi and Mumbai," he added.
The major difference between 1987 and 1996, when the World Cup was held in this part of the world, and now is the fact that the mega-event is directly controlled by the ICC, according to Shetty.
"As far as India is concerned the venues are all international Test centres. They have been organising matches for a long time. The two World Cups we had earlier held were entirely organised by us -? right from raising funds to organising the event was entirely India`s responsibility. Now it`s ICC event, from 2001," he said.
"There are some templates that ICC has which you have to follow strictly. That makes it something of a proper documentation. Each and everything you do has to be maintained.”
"(But) in our association level, we find (the mindset) -- why should we start (preparing) so early as there`s still time for that. Those are the things (mindset) that are still there. Otherwise all the back work that`s required has started in full earnest," he declared.
"As far as Sri Lanka is concerned, there`s a new ground coming up (Hambantota International Cricket Stadium) where the ground is totally ready -- wickets and all. Now they are focused on the construction work," Shetty said.