Team England skipper Alastair Cook at Birsa airport in Ranchi on Sunday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
It was a test they cleared with flying colours and now they are raring to take on more.
Ranchi’s first one day international match on Saturday not only put the state capital firmly on the world’s cricket map, but served as an amazing morale booster for the city police, who showed that when it came to crunch, they could deliver, and how.
The confidence of Ranchi’s police personnel is at an all-time high now after the force successfully maintained law and order in the city in the run-up to the high-profile match, during it and afterwards.
Now, the force is more than ready for the Indian Premier League matches scheduled in May.
While speaking to The Telegraph, IG (special branch) and police spokesperson S.N. Pradhan was justifiably proud. “It was a nice experience for the 2,500 police personnel deputed around the city during the match. They are ready for another event,” he said.
Pradhan was quick to add that though the policemen played a vital role in making the event a huge success, their contribution went largely unnoticed.
“Celebrated heroes came and went, but our unsung heroes remained that way. That is a matter of concern,” he said.
Superintendent of police (city) Vipul Shukla echoed Pradhan, adding that the force heaved a collective sigh of relief after the players left for Mohali for the next game in the five-match series.
He too rued the lack of appreciation for the force.
“Police personnel are the first to come and last to go whenever an event is organised. But they are hardly appreciated for their service,” he said, adding that the match had done a lot to boost their confidence.
“Barring a few incidents of rowdy behaviour, there were no untoward incidents in the city from the time the players arrived to the time they left. Traffic arrangements were also perfect. Though some vehicles got stuck in jams once the match ended, it was only for a few minutes. There were also no reports of vehicle thefts from the parking lots created around the stadium,” he said.
When contacted, officer-in-charge of Doranda police station Fozail Ahmed, who played a large role in receiving the players and then seeing them off at Birsa Munda Airport, said everything went according to plan.
“Although it was my first experience in the city in organising my men for an international cricket match, I had anticipated the spots where crowds could gather and create problems. We deputed police personnel at those places to manage the crowd and did not face any major problems,” he said.
Senior superintendent of police Saket Kumar Singh personally monitored the police efforts and responded to each SMS from his officers.
Officer-in-charge of Argora police station Pradeep Kumar Das, under whose jurisdiction the residence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni falls, said people too cooperated with the police personnel, who also dealt with the situation with a lot of patience.
“I was not worried about the cricket fans as I know that they are fair. But I was worried about some trouble mongers who could use the situation to create trouble. However, I got a lot of support from the public, who did not defy any order of the police and cooperated in maintaining law and order outside Dhoni’s home, which the Team India players visited,” he said.