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Saturday, April 11, 1998

Police briefing above all else

NEW DELHI, April 10: For a brief while in the evening at the Ferozeshah Kotla, the Pepsi Tri-series One-dayer between Australia and Zimbabwe, to be held tommorrow, was in danger of being put off. This embarrassing situation was created by Delhi Police personnel, who refused to allow the ground staff and the umpires into the ground for well over two hours.The official version was a security briefing was on, but the unofficial buzz was that the policemen were getting back for being denied sufficient number of passes for the match.

The tension mounted as the skies darkened and threat of rain became a distinct possibility. The pitch was uncovered and was yet to be handed over to the umpires, Dandapani and O Krishna, who were herded into complex via gate No 2 after they were denied entry at the main gate.

Even officials of the Delhi Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) were not allowed in as the situation reached farcical proportions with the policemen cracking cheeky one-liners to anxious enquiries. ``So whatif it rains, let our briefing end,'' was the answer.

A perplexed curator Radheshyam Mishra padded around the DDCA office on bare feet; the policemen not even allowing him to retrieve his shoes from the ground. ``There have been security briefings before, but they never prevented the ground staff from entering the ground. And, that too, on the evening before the match,'' commented an experienced observer.

The farce finally came to an end around 5.30 p.m. when the siege was lifted. Was the briefing over? Or were the passes on their way?

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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