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Cricket frenzy grips Kochi

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Staff Reporter

Elaborate security apparatus in place for India-England ODI

KOCHI: Kochi has become a sure stop for one-day internationals. The city now boasts of at least one ODI a year.

Memories of the Indo-Pak ODI last April are still fresh in the minds of the game enthusiasts.

Local lad Sreesanth's participation in Thursday's India-England match will draw crowds this time.

With cricket fans getting ready to enjoy the day (some are worried about beating the heat), the police are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the match passes off without any untoward event. An elaborate security apparatus will be in place, with 2,500 policemen being posted at vantage points at the international stadium and in the city on the day.

Video cameras

For the first time, video cameras will be installed at all entries to the stadium. "The aim is to keep a record of all spectators who come to witness the event," says K. Padmakumar, Ernakulam Range DIG. "Water in glass bottles and food in metal containers will not be allowed into the stadium. It's a strict `no' to cigarettes, lighters and so on. Not even nail cutters will be allowed inside, for fear of them being used as `missiles'. Still and video cameras too should not be taken inside the stadium. So is the case with crackers and inflammables. Persons found drunk will be detained at the entrance itself."

But the police do not want to play spoilsport. Spectators can bring banners, drums and so on, which play their part in adding to the game's charm. It goes unsaid that there is no bar on people getting the `Mexican wave' going.

While water can be brought in plastic bottles, food must be brought packed. Bottled water will be available for sale in each sector of the gallery.

The police force will be led on the field by 24 Dy.SPs. Special commandos of the police, personnel of City Shadows, the mufti police force in the city, and women police constables too will be posted.

A 24-hour police control room has begun functioning at the stadium. The Kerala Cricket Association has arranged medical facilities.

City Police Commissioner P Vijayan says spectators will not be allowed into the ground or dressing room. "A proper queue has to be maintained in the stadium. Any untoward incident will be taken serious note of by BCCI observers and will turn out to be a black spot on Kochi as a cricket venue."

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