Police gear up to ensure trouble-free match

Published: Saturday, October 20, 2007, 13:19 [IST]
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Unprecedented crowd control measures have been put in place for Australia's Twenty20 international against India here after recent incidents of boorish behaviour by spectators.

Mumbai police have installed nearly a dozen close circuit televisions across the Brabourne stadium, venue for the one-off game, to monitor the crowd and spot culprits if there are any.

Security staff in plainclothes would also be deployed in various stands to keep a check and prevent any untoward incidents during the game which would be played under lights, police said.

Hard hitting all-rounder Andrew Symonds, Australia's only black player, was subjected to obscene monkey gestures during the last game of the seven-match series here on Wednesday which were captured in a photograph.

Symonds was also abused by monkey chants during the fourth game at Vadodara where the authorities initially denied any such incident.

However, after the Mumbai game, an embarrassed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vowed to crack down on culprits and promised stricter measures for the last encounter of an eventful series which Australia won 4-2.

With the International Cricket Council also cracking the whip on racism, the Indian and Australian boards issued a joint statement Wednesday, underlining that racism of any kind would not be tolerated in the game.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting said Friday it was unfortunate that so much talk had been going around the past few days for no fault of Symonds when all that the team wanted was some good games of cricket.

Symonds himself stressed that he would rather focus on cricket.

"It is pleasing to see the authorities here in Mumbai tackling the issue following the seventh one-day match," he said in the Australian Saturday.

"I would much prefer the focus be on the cricket and for the cricket to be played in an atmosphere where players and spectators can enjoy a good day out, full of excitement and go home having had a great day of sport."

Indian batsman Robin Uthappa also made a plea to fans to behave themselves but felt that so far things had not gone out of hand.

"People should not be racist and abide by the messages put up (by the authorities). They should follow the rules. But I will give them eight-and-a-half out of ten for good behaviour," he said Friday.

India, the defending world Twenty20 champions, have meanwhile roped in left-arm spinner Murali Kartik in the squad following his match-winning haul of 6-27 in the last one-dayer against Australia.

Barring Kartik, who replaces leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, the Indians have retained the World Cup winning squad.

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