A lax Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) failed to co-ordinate on security logistics with the Mumbai Police, which meant a thousand-odd spectators were asked to return from the warm-up game between New Zealand and Board President XI at the Brabourne Stadium on Tuesday.
Before hosting each game especially with international teams involved, local police hold a meeting with the host association along with a representative from the Indian board. These meetings are done to chalk out plans in order to ensure smooth conduct of the game for spectators who walk in to watch.
Mumbai Police Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone -1) Manoj Sharma told The Indian Express that they had asked for some specific security-related equipment from the BCCI which were not provided by the board.
“Whenever any match takes place the association or BCCI provides specific equipment — scanners, CCTV cameras and other security related items. We provide them with man-power. Before the game we had asked for certain things which BCCI couldn’t provide. So keeping the security in mind we decided not to allow any spectators inside the ground,” Sharma said.
As no match tickets or passes are printed for these warm-up games, Sharma says security of players is a big concern. The last time CCI hosted a warm-up game where MS Dhoni played, a spectator had jumped the fence and entered the playing area to touch Dhoni’s feet.
It is learnt that Cricket Club of India which had agreed to host these two warm-up games had thrice written letters to the BCCI and also to the Committee of Adminstrators asking for clarity with regards to security arrangements. Many in the BCCI argue that as these games are warm-up games, with low public turnout the board doesn’t earn any gate money. So they want Mumbai Police to do the job free of cost.
The Mumbai Police charges Rs 40 lakh for police bandobast for each international and IPL game. A day before the game, an email from top BCCI bosses was sent to CCI secretary NK Jha stating that one gate will be opened for the fans after talks with the police authorities. However, that didn’t happen.
When contacted, Jha said, “You please speak to BCCI about this, they will answer.”
Among the thousands who returned home were youngsters who had played with Prithvi Shaw, who opened the batting for Board President XI and struck 60 off 80 balls.
BCCI chief executive officer Rahul Johri was not available for comment.
Brief Score: BP XI 295/9 (Prithvi Shaw 66, Karun Nair 78, KL Rahul 68) beat New Zealand 265 in 47.4 overs (Kane Williamson 47, Tom Latham 59, Shahbaz Nadeem 3/41).