ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

India v Pakistan, 1st semi-final, World Cup 2011, Mohali

Tight security as ministers flock to Mohali

Nagraj Gollapudi in Mohali

March 28, 2011

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

Police officers look on as Sachin Tendulkar leaves the ground, Mohali, March 28, 2011
Sachin Tendulkar was watched over by several police officers as he left the PCA Stadium © AFP
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Inside the Mohali stadium there is an eerie silence. Pakistan arrived in the morning for their nets, India followed in the afternoon, then Pakistan returned later in the evening for fielding practice. Sitting inside the ground it just seemed another normal day. But that feeling blew away in the Mohali dust as soon as one stepped towards the entrance of the stadium, the epicentre of the ground.

There were officials and personnel from several arms of the Indian security machinery. The army, the National Security Guard (NSG), the Special Protection Group (SPG), which guards the country's prime minister, the state police; they all milled around like worker ants, doing decoys and last-minute checks.

Outside the ground, hundreds of fans had been clambering along the ticket windows since early in the morning, despite the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) announcing earlier last week that all tickets for the public were sold out. Turns out, a television station had announced that a batch of tickets would be sold at the stadium. The fans turned up in the morning and stood, squatted and loitered around in hope for the entire day. No one moved from behind the ticket window. One of the policemen, just off his shift, told ESPNcricinfo that he was going to change into civvies and join the queue of the hopeful.

Sukhbir Singh Badal, Punjab's deputy chief minister, described the semi-finals as a "major" event, and said the entire world would be watching India "fighting" Pakistan. "The level of excitement created [for this match], I think it would [even] be less in the final," Badal said. He assured that police had made all arrangements to ensure there would be proper movement and proper parking available on Wednesday.

With Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani accepting his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh's invite to attend the match, the security was expected to reach asphyxiating proportions. To avoid any chaos and undue distress, Badal suggested that the fans turn up at least three hours in advance. He also indicated that, in addition to the two prime ministers, a bevy of state chief ministers and governors, along with minsters in the federal government, are marching towards Chandigarh for the match. Also attending would be the chairman of the Pakistan senate and the governor of Punjab province in Pakistan.

The police outside the PCA Stadium have already had to deal with one potentially troublesome situation. On Monday, a group of workers from the pharmaceutical industry, who were protesting against a lack of jobs, walked towards the stadium, perhaps in hope of attracting attention from the media, who they knew would be swarming around the ground. The police sent them away, but a stone was hurled at a policeman, leading to a skirmish in which a few protestors were injured. The situation was brought under control in less than an hour.

Reports of Pakistani fans storming through the Wagah border, and wandering around Chandigarh in search for tickets, were unfounded. What remained as unclear was the total number of people crossing the border to witness the semi-finals. "The number is not clear at this moment because the visas have to be given; by tomorrow evening we will know," Badal said.

Pakistani fans who cannot make it to Mohali will still be able to enjoy the match in a stadium atmosphere. As per the directive of Pakistan's government, the PCB will be setting up digital screens under flood lights at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, where fans can come watch the game, for free.

IS Bindra, the PCA head, said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had originally asked for only 50 tickets, but once Pakistan made it to the semis, they asked for four times that number. Bindra said the PCB was eventually granted 200 complimentary tickets. It is understood that the PCB would distribute the tickets to its own partners and not the public. So the list would include board officials, governing board members, and various personnel working for the president and the prime minister's offices. There is likely to be some corporate presence, too.

According to Bindra, the PCA is the only cricket association which has allotted 14,000 out of the total capacity of 27,000 tickets to the general public. He said those tickets went on sale on March 21 and were exhausted the next morning. "6000 have been given to the ICC. 1800 have been given to the PCA members. 1800 have been disbursed to the various state associations of the BCCI," Bindra said. "The least number of VVIP tickets have been issued in Mohali compared to other venues."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 16 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 16:01 GMT)

@cric009 see overall record Pakistan thrashed India in all parts of world.U remember we twice beaten u and thrown u out of champions trophy,

Posted by Shrikar on (March 29, 2011, 13:20 GMT)

This is going to be a cracker of a game,i assure..Shoib,gul,afridi n so called other spinners are going to remember this match for ever for their humiliation by indian batsmen(Sehwag,Sachin,Yuvraj,Virat,Dhoni n Raina)..Pakistanis are crying tht our bowling line up is better than india,thtz not gonna help at all when all our run machine will start firing...god save pakistani bowlers

Posted by Ahmed on (March 29, 2011, 7:39 GMT)

No fly zones .. anti air craft guns .. highest security protocols .. highest ranks spectators including PM's .. I say gone are the days of Ashes .. this is THE rivalry .. The Cricket Rivalry and for sure .. we must sing along !! Cricket We Love You !!

Posted by Ahmed on (March 29, 2011, 7:19 GMT)

No fly zones .. anti air craft guns .. highest security protocols .. highest ranks spectators including PM's .. I say gone are the days of Ashes .. this is THE rivalry .. The Cricket Rivalry and for sure .. we must sing along !! Cricket We Love You !!

Posted by ashok on (March 29, 2011, 6:45 GMT)

The loosing nation will loose their pride, what so ever... the idea of batting pitch is complete havoc... Any way India could win it easily if Sehwag and Sachin fire....

Posted by Muhammad on (March 29, 2011, 6:43 GMT)

Nice Tamim I am agree with you by playing together never creates peace. No doubt it will be a big match between India & Pak . We will enjoy it if we all watch this as neutral or good cricket..otherwise it will crash our emotions..

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 6:34 GMT)

This is will be the cracker jack.... One thing is for sure"Entertainment Guaranteed"

Posted by ramkumar on (March 29, 2011, 5:51 GMT)

So much hype, So much hoopla, So much attention .....will this match end in damp squib and my prediction for NZ Vs SL Match. NZ will be winners. NZ will win the worldcup. NZ is the team which is having almost no pressure ahead of its games India even if it wins the match against pak will be completly exhausted and out of focus. Pak will falter in the final if they make it after the nerve wracking SF. SL with so much home support and homemade bowlers pitch will be the losers. NZ will win its first WC. If betting was made legal in India, i would have bet on NZ winning the cup.

Posted by Arvind on (March 29, 2011, 1:28 GMT)

looking at the Indian team track record of winning matches in the recent days & years, it looks like our Indian team work is doing really good and confidently will be winning this game pretty... good luck Indian team

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 0:56 GMT)

its the courtesy call of the Indian PM and Pak counter part accepted diplomatically. so dont expect much beyond that. they are coming to watch like any other cricket fan.thats it. I dont think there is a place for peace,relations..etc

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