Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Security officials brief Indian cricket team

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 20:17 [IST]
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New Delhi:Evacuation plans in case of a militant attack and Do's and Don'ts that include not accepting gifts without proper screening were explained to the Indian cricketers this morning by the security officials accompanying them to Pakistan on the 40-day tour.

Inspector General of Police Yashovardhan Azad, who gave a 40-minute briefing to Sourav Ganguly and his men, said there was no need to panic as Pakistani security agencies have taken "stringent measures" for ensuring their safety.

Additional Commissioner of Delhi Police Manoj Lall, Deputy Inspector General of Police Dharmendra Kumar and Additional Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police Prabhakar, who will also accompany the team, were also present at the briefing. Joint Secretary in Ministry of External Affairs Arun Singh also interacted with the players.

They briefed the cricketers about the basic precautions that needed to be taken during their stay in Pakistan. The players were asked not to take gifts without those being screened by the security staff.

The cricketers were also familarised with the identity cards issued by Pakistani security agencies to the hotel staff and security personnel, who will be in close proximity of the team.

The players have been asked to board a vehicle only after it has been thoroughly checked and cleared for travel by the security staff.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) joint secretary Ratnakar Shetty said Azad and other officials had detailed discussions with the players and assured them of complete security.

"The main points discussed were the precaution to be taken by the visitors and the ways and means to make the players comfortable despite the tight security," he said.

Later, Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly told reporters the "concerns will always be there, for all the 40 days. But we trust what has been told to us."

Ganguly said it was difficult for him to say now whether the security mechanism would affect the team. "The tour has not started yet. First we have to go there and see what it is like."

Azad said "we will be liasioning with the National Security Co-ordinator appointed by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to ensure all safety measures are in place for the players." He sought to downplay the notion that unprecedented security measures were being put in place for the tour saying "strict security norms have become a normal feature worldwide and there is no need to read in between the lines."

The four members of the team have been split into two groups. In the first phase Azad and Lall will be traveling with the team to liaison with Pakistani officials for One-day matches and in the second phase Dharmendra Kumar and Prabhakar would liaison for the rest of the series.

The second briefing session will take on board the special Indian Airlines plane during which the security officials will brief the team about the other nitty-gritty's during the 50-minute flight to Lahore.

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