The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Few guests for Motera

Ahmedabad, April 11: Gujaratis who went to Pakistan to watch India play there and received a warm welcome were hoping to give a return treat.

They will be disappointed as only about five Pakistanis will be in the stands at the Motera stadium for tomorrow's one-day match.

The Pakistani turnout in the 47,000-strong crowd is low compared with the about 35 to 40 who watched the Jamshedpur tie, despite the fact that the eastern steel town is much farther than Ahmedabad from their home.

Chief minister Narendra Modi, who had taken great offence when Pakistan refused to play a Test match in Ahmedabad, will watch at least a part of the one-dayer that is being held amid tight security.

The family members of Gujarat sensation Irfan Pathan, lately somewhat subdued with the ball, will give Modi company.

P.K. Jha, the inspector-general of police (Gandhinagar range), saw no security threat. Still, in view of the fact that the Pakistan Cricket Board had expressed 'security concerns', he added: 'We have to be more vigilant to ensure that everything passes off without a hitch.'

About 3,000 police personnel have been posted in and around the stadium and the Rapid Action Force is on patrol within a 2-km periphery around the venue. Additional forces are being deployed in sensitive areas. 'Anybody can try to create mischief in this high-profile match. That's why we are leaving nothing to chance,' Jha said.

Such is the craze for the match that 35,000 tickets were sold on the first day, said a local cricket official.

The BCCI had written to the Gujarat Cricket Association asking it to keep 300 tickets for Pakistani fans.

Chacha Abdul Jalil, who follows the team around, was the first Pakistani to arrive but can look forward to vocal support from only four other compatriots.

When the Indian team visited Pakistan last year, more than 30 people from Ahmedabad went over.

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