Tight security for Sachin during England tour
Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2002, 18:08 [IST]
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New Delhi: An unprecedented security blanket will be thrown around superstar Sachin Tendulkar and the rest of the Indian cricket team during their upcoming tour of England, officials said on Tuesday. Fears of crowd trouble in the unfenced English grounds and alleged threats by Muslim militants to kidnap Tendulkar and captain Saurav Ganguly have forced Indian cricket officials to seek tight security for the team during the 11-week tour. "Nothing is the same after September 11, so we have to take precautions," Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Niranjan Shah said. "The English tradition of allowing fans to invade the ground after play has caused concern to all, not only the Indians. We do not want to take any chances." Crowd invasions during the World Cup in England in 1999 prompted Australian captain Steve Waugh to call for tougher action by authorities, saying the lives of cricketers were threatened.Similar trouble erupted during last year's One-day series among Australia, Pakistan and hosts England. Two matches between England and Pakistan ended in chaos after pitch invasions by Pakistani fans, and Waugh led his team off the field against Pakistan after a firework exploded near fast bowler Brett Lee. The final between Australia and Pakistan at Lord's was also marred when a beer can thrown from the crowd during the presentation ceremony struck Australian batsman Michael Bevan on the cheek. The BCCI has sent two senior officials, joint secretary Jyoti Bajpai and media manager Amrit Mathur, to London to consult the England and Wales Cricket Board (ICB) and the Indian High Commission (Embassy) on security arrangements for the team. "We have got a positive response from everyone," Mathur said by phone from London. "No one wants the cricket to be ruined by trouble-makers." Indian security forces have provided special protection for Tendulkar and Ganguly since last October after threats were received against both cricketers by Muslim militants. India, which is scheduled to play four Tests against England and a triangular One- day series also featuring Sri Lanka, is due to arrive in London on June 18. The tri-series will be played between June 27 and July 13, followed by the Test matches at Lord's, Trent Bridge, Headingly and the Oval.