Pakistan’s cricketers were greeted with an extra-tight security blanket here at the Kolkata airport on Tuesday after the local administration received yet another e-mail threat against the tourists.
Team manager Talat Ali Malik told this correspondent that security has been tightened around Pakistani players and officials who are now living in a five-star hotel that has been converted into a virtual fortress.
“The security cover here is unprecedented,” Talat said. “We have been given a good security cover since we arrived on this tour but in Kolkata it is much tighter than before,” he added. The local administration here is taking no chances in the wake of the of last week’s blasts in Uttar Pradesh and successive e-mails threatening to kill Pakistani cricketers if they do not return home.
An e-mail was received by an Indian television channel in New Delhi last week and now a similar message has been received by another local television channel. The new message has threatened that bomb blasts would be carried out where the Tests will be played.
However, Talat said that he hasn’t been officially informed about the e-mails. “We haven’t been given any reason for the additional security but we do understand that there have been threats,” he said.
The team manager said that the Pakistan team remains focused on the series which they trail by 0-1. “Our safety is the responsibility of the hosts and we have complete faith in the arrangement being made by them,” he said.
In Kolkata, security agencies ensured that the Pakistani and Indian teams are as secured as possible. Four buses with dark tinted glasses, two of then decoys collected the players directly at the tarmac as the authorities decided against bringing out the players from the domestic terminal. The buses exited from the international terminal of the Netaji Sunhas Chandra airport.
Elite commandoes were stationed at all floors of the Taj Bengal — the team hotel — while a special bomb disposal squad was also kept on standbye. In short, every inch of the hotel has been put under surveillance.
The Eden Gardens, the venue for the second Test starting on Friday, is also giving the look of a battlefield. Meanwhile, the Indian team arrived here without Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Murali Kartik, RP Singh and S Sreesanth.
Singh and Sreesanth and Singh have been ruled out of the second Test because of injuries. Two of the Pakistani players — Mohammad Yousuf and Danish Kaneria — decided to stay back in New Delhi and will arrive here this morning.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:India, Kolkata, Pakistan, Pakistan in India 2007, Talat Ali
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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