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The already tight security at the MA Chidambaram Stadium and the team hotel has been strengthened in Chennai ahead of the first Test following the deadly serial blasts in Hyderabad, the second Test venue.
Within an hour, the police had deployed an extra security ring outside the main entrance and at various points of the hotel.
It was late night in Australia when the explosions took place. The Australia media manager Matt Cenin told Hindustan Times (at around 8.30 pm): “We just came to know about the incident 15 minutes ago, we have no reaction at this moment.”
Soon after, top ranking TN police officials arrived at the hotel and were locked in a meeting with the Australia team’s security officer, who looked flustered.
Normally, on the eve of the Test, players prefer to be in their rooms, and player activity seemed to have dropped further on Thursday evening. Among the Aussies, only David Warner was seen in the lobby. Among the Indians, the newly-wed Cheteshwar Pujara was seen leaving the hotel with his wife while Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay went for dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Security concerns have put the second Test in some doubt, but Hyderabad Cricket Association’s media manager, Gerard Carr, told HT, “It’s too early to say but we will speak to the BCCI. We can’t jump to conclusions as the nature and intention of the blasts are not yet clear. The picture will get clear by tomorrow after speaking to the BCCI and understanding the gravity of the blast.
AFP adds: Australia team said it had held talks with the BCCI. “The safety of the squad is of paramount importance and Australian team management and Cricket Australia staff are liaising with the BCCI, local authorities and Australian High Commission to ensure we have all the appropriate information," said a team statement.