Amid much fanfare, team India and Australia have arrived in Visakhapatnam on Saturday evening, to fight it out in the second One Day International (ODI) cricket match at ACA VDCA YSR Cricket Stadium on March 19. A large number of cricket lovers and fans have gathered at the airport and a few other junctions leading to a hotel at Rushikonda, where the players were accommodated. The city is abuzz with activity with people enquiring on buying tickets at a premium, traffic police engaged in preparatory arrangements, civil police organising meetings at the stadium as part of security duty. However, all eyes are on the weather conditions, as rain is likely to play a spoilsport.
The city was brought under complete security blanket in view of the match. Around 2,000 police personnel were drafted for security duty. Road Opening Parties (R.O.Ps) have been deployed along the routes being used to ferry cricket players and staff to the hotel as well as cricket stadium from the airport. The R.O.Ps have been continuously conducting checks and engaged in route bandobast.
The city police have appointed three DCP rank officers to monitor security and traffic duties at the stadium. While DCP Zone I was engaged to supervise the bandobast activities inside the stadium, DCP Zone II will be looking after the situation outside the stadium. DCP (Crimes) was handed over the responsibility to check traffic operations in the city. Barricading was arranged around the stadium. At every entry gate to the stadium, an ACP rank officer is being deployed who would ensure that every ticket holder is checked thoroughly before being allowed into the stadium. Apart from bandobast inside and outside the stadium, police personnel will keep a vigil from the roofs of commercial buildings around the stadium. Police personnel from the crime wing will be present inside the stadium to check crimes.
The demand for the match tickets was huge. The ACA authorities have announced that around 23,000 tickets have been sold in both online and offline modes. However, a large number of people allege that despite severe attempts they were unable to get a ticket. It has been more than three years since Visakhapatnam has hosted an ODI cricket match. In view of huge demand, a few people were found to be selling tickets at double the price to make a fast buck.
The final arrangements for the match have been done at the cricket stadium. Barricading, arrangements of parking places at Sankethika College and a few other open grounds, sanitation arrangements, drinking water supply were made. Ambulances, fire tenders were also being deployed. Though the authorities have asked the spectators to come to the stadium two hours before the scheduled timing, the police anticipate arrival of fans right from the morning from various places. RTC officials have also arranged special buses in view of the match.
With hours to go for the ODI match, cricket lovers are keeping their fingers crossed about the rain. With city receiving short spell of drizzle on Saturday evening, it has led to slight disappointment and dilemma over outfield. The entire cricket ground was covered with tarpaulins. Many have started enquiring about the weather updates for Sunday and pinning hope for a sunny and bright day. Weathermen from the State predicted that there could be some spells of rain in the morning, which could hamper some overs, but not the entire match..