Australians wanted foolproof security, says TNCA secretary

Fans who nursed a desire to catch a glimpse of their favourite cricketers on day one of the practice match between Board President’s XI and the touring Australian side at Guru Nanak College had to contend with disappointment.

The security arrangement for the two-day game meant that only media personnel with accreditations and students and staff of the college possessing identity cards were allowed inside the premises on Tuesday. That there were glitches in security co-ordination was evident when even some journalists, despite holding valid accreditation cards, were made to wait before they were eventually granted entry.

R. Prasad, a 48-year-old cricket fan, was livid at members of the public being refused entry.

No reason

“Why is a genuine cricket enthusiast not allowed to watch the match? The 40-odd people who come to watch such matches, which are not international or IPL fixtures, are serious fans. When I asked the policeman why I was denied entry, he rudely told me, ‘no reason.’ He could have at the least told me why they were doing it.

“I went to watch the Ranji Trophy final at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium last year between Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan and was very hurt by the poor treatment meted out to spectators. The security personnel treated us like we were terrorists.”

S. Murali Mohan, a software professional, faced similar disappointment. “My office is very close to the college and I wanted to watch the match. But I was told that the public wasn’t allowed. It’s very disappointing.”

Security concerns

K.S. Viswanathan, Secretary, Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA), said security concerns had to be addressed. “It’s a college ground and not a stadium. If the match had been held in a stadium, then we could have made security arrangements [for the public]. In this case, it’s practically not possible to let outsiders in. Also, the Australians wanted foolproof security,” he said.

Viswanathan also confirmed that the second practice match, featuring India ‘A’ and the Australians between February 16 and 18 at the same venue, would also remain out of bounds for the public.

Marlene Morais, Principal of the College, said the TNCA had arranged security for the match. “They told us that the match wasn’t open to the public. We received a letter from them asking for 20 NCC volunteers and our students chipped in. After the third hour, we allowed students to watch the match if they were interested.”

“Someone like Parveez Rasool from Jammu & Kashmir, a State that doesn’t produce many cricketers, did so well today and there wasn’t a single fan to watch it,” lamented Prasad.

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