The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Azad to brief players today
- Following 'reservations', Decision on the two matches in Chittangong put on hold

Calcutta: The Sourav Ganguly-led Team India is to have its first nets session in Dhaka on Thursday morning.

That, however, will be preceded by something as (if not more) important: A security briefing from Yashovardhan Azad, who heads the Union home ministry's VIP security division.

'As of now, that's scheduled for 9.00 am, before the boys leave the hotel,' informed manager Ramchandra Sudhakar Rao, when contacted by The Telegraph on Wednesday evening.

Speaking from the team hotel (glitzy Sonargaon), he added: 'It's then that the dos and don'ts are going to be formally conveyed' The interaction with Azad should also put the players totally at ease'

The first Test, in Dhaka, begins on Friday.

Azad, it may be recalled, was rushed to Dhaka (as head of a recce team quickly put together by New Delhi) on Monday, some 24 hours after the Indian high commission there received a threat from extremist outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad.

The threat, directed at Sourav and Co., forced the Board of Control for Cricket in India to wait for a fresh green signal from New Delhi. Eventually, that delayed the team's departure by a day.

The briefing by Azad would have taken place on Wednesday itself, but for his trip to Chittagong for an 'on-the-ground assessment' there.

Azad did get back to the Bangladesh capital late at night, but the decision on playing in the port city has, for now, been put on hold.

Chittagong is scheduled to host the second Test and the first ODI. Azad's okay, though, will be necessary for the two matches to actually be held there.

The recce team, one understands, returned 'generally satisfied,' but 'reservations remain.'

Well-placed sources revealed that the concerned agencies have been requested to 'revert' to the Indians before 11.30 am (on Thursday), when a meeting is slated at the high commission.

Significantly, that Azad ' who did the recce in Pakistan earlier this year and was designated chief security liaison officer for the first half of our visit ' is the one entrusted to oversee arrangements has made the players 'comfortable.'

The dapper IG, by the way, is 1983 World Cupper Kirti's elder brother.

According to Rao, who toured New Zealand and the West Indies in 1975-76, the Bangladesh government has assigned a 'high-ranked' police officer to be with the team on a 24x7 basis.

'The arrangements here (in Dhaka) are impressive,' he pointed out.

Apparently, the Pakistan-model was followed with traffic halted on the lengthy airport-hotel route to allow the team express (and safer) passage.

Incidentally, at this moment, there are no plans for a top cop from New Delhi to also 'shadow' Sourav and Co.

Email This Page