World Cup security chiefs promising rock solid defence

Saturday, 19 February 2011 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Never mind the players or fans, it is the security chiefs responsible for the safety of the teams and hundreds of thousands of spectators who so far sound most confident ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

The six-week festival of cricket in the subcontinent begins in Dhaka on Saturday with a meeting between joint hosts Bangladesh and India and will be followed by 48 matches culminating in the final in Mumbai on April 2.

The tournament is also being played in Sri Lanka.

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief Haroon Lorgat, the man ultimately responsible for the safe delivery of the World Cup, described security as a "non issue". He said the ICC had all the necessary arrangements with governments and police forces in place.

"We have gained enormous amounts of experience over the last few years. In fact, safety and security does not seem to be an issue for anyone," he told Reuters this week.

"We are mature in our processes, we’re very robust as a consequence of the experience we’ve gained. We’ve got systems in place, we’ve got personnel in place.

"It’s an issue that certainly would have concerned me and engaged me a lot in the past. It’s fair to say that because of the maturity we’ve reached in that area it’s in fact a non-issue."

As Lorgat concedes, security had been anything but a non-issue not long ago in cricket which has a recent bloody record in the sub-continent.

Less than two years ago the touring Sri Lankan team was ambushed by gunmen in Pakistan and six policemen were killed and seven players and officials were injured in the shootout.

A driver in one of the team buses was also killed.

Security in Mumbai has never been far from its residents’ minds either since the late November day in 2008 when co-ordinated shooting attacks resulted in 164 deaths and more than 300 being wounded.

Gambler punts $132,300 on Indian World Cup triumph

(Reuters) - An anonymous gambler has struck an 82,000 pounds ($132,300) bet with a London bookmaker on India winning the Cricket World Cup, one of the biggest ever laid in the one-day game.

If the co-hosts and 3-1 favourites triumph in the April 2 final in Mumbai, the punter will collect 246,000 pounds ($396,900), Ladbrokes said.

"It’s one of the biggest bets we’ve ever laid in the one day format and we’ve even more reason now to fear an India win," said a spokesman for the company.

The tournament starts on Saturday when India, who lost in the first round four years ago in the Caribbean, play Bangladesh in Dhaka.