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Tight security? It?s only on paper

Security for players is very porous, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2007 15:29 IST

A fanatic's attempted assault on Greg Chappell soon after arrival in Bhubhaneshwar on Monday was bound to result in a strengthening of security arrangements and it was not surprising to see a sea of men in khaki after meandering through the lanes leading to the Barabati Stadium on Tuesday morning.

Unlike in most cricket centres in India, the police were rather gentle and polite to the media, letting scribes in after a look at their accreditation papers and passes. But that doesn't mean the security system was not porous, even when it came to guarding sensitive places like the players' dressing rooms.

Unable to find their way to the press box, a group of journalists were wandering up and down the staircases inside the main building before suddenly finding themselves in front of the dressing room marked for the West Indies players who were still to arrive. They went in without being questioned before leaving realising that it was not the place they were trying to locate.

This group of bemused reporters could also have walked into the Indian dressing room situated opposite the one they had just seen. There were lots of security men around, including some from a private agency, but none even questioned what business these unknown men had there, forget searching them amid rumours of an Lashkar-e-Tayyeba threat.

One reason of this was obvious. All concerned were sporting identity cards issued by the Orissa Cricket Association, which again did a good job in terms of smooth distribution of those, but there should have been someone to check whether these passes allowed one access to all areas. There were scores of policemen and most of them were standing alongside the boundary ropes because the Indians were practicing.

Meanwhile, Rahul Dravid said he was disappointed and sad that coach Chappell was nearly assaulted by someone out of his senses, but added that he was not surprised. "In our country people seeking easy publicity often do such things. That is why you see people do these or file cases against film stars."

First Published: Jan 23, 2007 23:07 IST