The security agencies in Mumbai are treating Sachin Tendulkar's 200th and final Test match at the Wankhede Stadium here like a World Cup final. On Wednesday, Mumbai Cricket Association officials and senior officers of the Mumbai Police discussed elaborate security measures to ensure that the high-profile match to be attended by the who's who of the country passed off incident free.
The bustling city of Mumbai has always been a soft target for terror groups. The Champions League T20 championship was cancelled after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks by Pakistani gunmen. In July 2011, a series of explosions rocked the city leaving at least 26 people dead. Tendulkar's 200th game is being seen as more than just a Test match and hence the attention from all security agencies is understandable.
Among major steps, four sets of Quick Response Teams, armed with automatic weapons, will escort the players. The police will also post liaison officers with both the Indian and the West Indian squads. Parking restrictions in and around the Wankhede Stadium and specific entrance for players and VVIPs are part of the security measures.
Anti-sabotage measures will also be in place as part of the security bandobast. Even the caterers who will bring in food for spectators and players will have restricted entry and will be frisked. Except authorized personnel, no Private Security Officers with weapons will be allowed entry in the core areas of the stadium.
Cricket players have been at the receiving end of terrorist strikes. In March 2009, at least six Sri Lankan cricketers were injured after gunmen opened fire on the team bus at Lahore. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed when 12 masked gunmen on rickshaws attacked with guns, grenades and rockets. The Sri Lankan team bus came under fire as the players headed to the Gaddafi Stadium for the third day of the second Test against Pakistan. Mumbai Police is taking no chances with Tendulkar's mega match.