Mumbai : A little over two years and seven months after witnessing the ecstasy of India’s World Cup triumph, Wankhede Stadium here will be the scene for another milestone in Indian cricket, hosting batting great Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th and farewell Test match against the West Indies beginning on Thursday. Perhaps, never in the history of the game has any cricketer’s swansong series or farewell match generated such frenzy, so much that the cricketing rivalry between the Calypso charmers and the subcontinental giants has been reduced to a sideshow.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai police has drawn up an extensive security plan which includes ensuring that the master blaster does not move around alone at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday. Keeping in mind the crowd frenzy surrounding the match, liaison officers have been appointed for each player and an adviser for both competing teams, the police said.
To maintain law and order outside the premises, Mumbai police commissi-oner Satyapal Singh will himself keep a close watch on the security of Wankhede.
“As a precautionary measure, we will ensure that Sachin does not move around alone in the stadium. We will try to make sure he moves around with his team members. As it is his last match, a large number of fans may surround him if he is spotted alone,” said a senior police official.
Also, 850 policemen and 200 female security personnel will be deployed along with 18 assistant police commissioners, 35 inspectors and 90 sub-inspectors for the Test match security at the ground. Six platoons of the State Reserve Police Force have also been deployed. Three Deputy Police Commissioners will supervise the security arrangements.
Twelve Quick Response Teams and 16 marksman vehicles have been stationed. Police will have 45 door framed metal detectors and over 100 hand-held metal detectors for frisking, police said.
Six teams of the Bomb Disposal and Dog Squad (BDDS) will also be stationed in and around the ground, police said adding that the squads would conduct checks at the stadium before and after match. The first check will be done three hours before the match begins, the officer added.
The four roads leading to the stadium – D Road, F Road, Maharshi Karve Road and Netaji Subhash Road (Marine Drive) – have been made no-parking zones while vehicle owners living in the area have been provided alternate arrangements.