Enforcing heavy security measures in preparation for the Saturday’s World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium India has declared the entire south Mumbai a no-fly zone to prevent any possible aerial attacks.
Indian Police has said that only aircraft belonging to the security agencies including the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force, the Indian Navy and others will be allowed in the air space.
According to the Police, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as other high level VIPs of both countries are expected to attend Saturday’s World Cup final.
President Rajapaksa flew to Mumbai yesterday.
The Maharashtra State Government has already declared Saturday a holiday for Mumbai city and suburbs, Indian media reported.
The authorities have also decided to ban group text messages for the day and are conducting background checks on various foreign nationals living or touring in south Mumbai.
Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik has said that all security personnel have been issued special bio-metric identity cards and instructed to operate at ‘zero tolerance’ levels on the match day, the IANS reported. The Indian media has reported that the Indian Government with the International Cricket Council (ICC) is to make all the arrangements for the visit of the Sri Lankan President.
The Sri Lankan team arrived in Mumbai on Wednesday amid heavy security from commandos and crack units of the Mumbai police. Pace bowler Chaminda Vaas and spinner Suraj Randiv were also flown to Mumbai last evening as covering players. Umpires Simon Taufle and Aleem Dar will be the on-field umpires for the World Cup final while Jeff Crowe will be the match referee.
Ian Gould will act as Third Umpire while Steve Davis will be the fourth Umpire
The Hindu publishing a feature article titled ‘World Cup cricket final pits India vs Sri Lanka’ said Saturday’s match between India vs. Sri Lanka features the best batsman against the most prolific bowler.
Sachin Tendulkar will take on Muttiah Muralitharan, who is aiming to win it again in his last international match.
Muralitharan will draw on his experience of winning the World Cup at age 23 when Sri Lanka stunned the cricket establishment with a seven-wicket over the Australians at Lahore in 1996.
In the first all-Asian final, the teams match up well, the Hindu said.
Special SriLankan Airlines Mumbai flight full
The special flight organised by SriLankan Airlines for today’s World Cup final in Mumbai had been fully booked in quick time, sources said.
When inquiries were made last night a spokesman for the airline said the special flight had drawn big demand with all having secured a match ticket clamouring to be at the final. The special flight was scheduled to depart Colombo at 0700 hours today and reach Mumbai at 0925 hours.
It was put in place in addition to the normal daily flight of SriLankan to Mumbai.
An Airbus A330 has been deployed for the special flight and as per standard configuration it can carry 287 passengers.
The return flight scheduled to depart from Mumbai at 0500 hours on Sunday too has been fully booked.
Apart from direct online bookings the special flight had been marketed by two travel agents with tickets and tour packages.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa left yesterday to Mumbai accompanied by several but select VVIPs and officials.