Jaipur police are taking no chances ahead of the Bangalore IPL match and personnel at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium have been doubled. There will now be close to 3000 policemen in the stadium, alongside 500 security guards from a private agency. On the eve of the match, the only thing that broke the silence was the sound of water gushing out into the lush green outfield.
"We have beefed up security to the extent that it is the same as for the India-Pakistan match that was held here last year," Bimal Roy Soni, deputy president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, said. "Why are we over reacting to the explosions and having doubts if the matches would be cancelled? They could have happened anywhere else. If it were to happen in Mumbai, would you cancel the semifinals and final there?"
This has meant a reduction of seats available to the public by 25% but given the circumstances no one is complaining.
The various committees responsible for conducting matches here went about their customary meetings in the evening. But one meeting was unusual.
Shaun Dippenaar, the South African security officer from Nichols-Steyn and Associates, designated to the Bangalore team flew into the city around midnight on Wednesday and met local officials closer to 7 pm at the stadium. His nod will ensure that the beleaguered team, currently camping in New Delhi, will arrive here on Friday afternoon.
He will also make sure that the clash against Jaipur is conducted in a foolproof security environment.
There were uniformed security officers at the main gate, which was only half open, checking each and every passer by while the other entrances, from side and back were chained tightly and locked.
One blue-uniformed official told a journalist: "You can go only by the main entrance. The key to this lock is not with me. You could also use the side entrance, if that is opened."
As reported by the HT on Thursday, Darren Berry called team officials and expressed concern and apprehension about the situation after the blasts. He was given necessary assurances.
Lalit Modi, commissioner of the IPL and in charge of the stadium, discussed the possibility of foreign players heading back to their respective countries with franchise owners. A spokesperson for the Jaipur team said there was "no chance of anyone going back".
Confirming this a senior Indian player who did not want to be named said, "We've been spoken to by the team management and the players are all coming."
Some of Jaipur's players, currently holidaying in Goa, will assemble here on Friday evening, media manager Narender Joshi confirmed.
They will not have a practice session but straightaway go into the match.