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Unprecedented security for Jaipur ODI

February 20, 2010 18:27 IST

The Sawai Mansingh cricket stadium in Jaipur has been turned into a virtual fortress filled with policemen and security guards filling every corner of the ground.

Following recent information of terror threats to the opening One-day International between India and South Africa to be played on Sunday, the organisers are taking no chances at all.

Around 2000 policemen including private security guards and para-military personnel would be guarding the 28000-capacity stadium along with help from more than 100 CCTVs and dog squads specially brought in from Hyderabad.

The Jaipur police have even a red alert has been placed on all the inter-state borders too.

Quite easily, the level of security was unprecedented for any sporting event played before in India. But the teams, who came out to practice on the eve of the match on Saturday, seemed unfazed.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the extra number of policemen in the stadium would not affect him since it is the men in the middle who matter.

"Frankly speaking, if you have 200 policemen and if from 200 it is raised to 400 it doesn't affect you. You see loads of policemen but at the end of the day when you enter the field you see only 11 players, 2 umpires and 2 batsmen. The crowd inside the stadium especially in the field remains the same and it is for our own security so I don't think it is a problem for us," Dhoni said.

South Africa's stand-in captain for the series Jacques Kallis pointed out that it was sad to see much security for a cricket match but believes it is unavoidable in view of the terror threats and recent happenings in the country.

"It is sad when you have so much security with the threats because at the end we are coming to a country like this all we are interested in is playing cricket. We have been advised by all the security guys, the correct measures have been taken, the security is in place and it is as good as security can get. In the end, the guys are comfortable and we know we are just here to play cricket and the security guys are there to do their job," he said.

The intelligence agencies have warned of a possible terror strike during sporting events like the India-South Africa series, the upcoming Hockey World Cup and the Commonwealth Games and no doubt such strict measures have become unavoidable in the current circumstances.

Harish Kotian in Jaipur