Mon, Apr 19, 2010 - Page 5 News List

Indian cricket chief sure of security despite bombing

AP , NEW DELHI

Indian Premier League (IPL) organizers have vowed that security will be “watertight” for the remainder of the tournament after two bomb blasts at a Bangalore cricket stadium left 14 people injured and panicked fans before a match.

“We are talking to police and government officials about security arrangements,” IPL commissioner Lalit Modi told reporters yesterday. “We are feeling quite confident.”

The crudely made bombs went off outside Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday, an hour before an IPL match between Bangalore Royal Challengers and Mumbai Indians. Mumbai eventually won the match, which was played to a packed stadium and an hour behind schedule.

Modi said two extra layers of security would be added outside the already heavily guarded venues for the few remaining regular season matches and the semifinals and final.

“It will be a little inconvenient for the spectators, but we’re leaving no stone unturned,” Modi said. “Security will be watertight.”

According to initial investigations, the explosives used in the blasts were locally made and of low intensity, said M.R. Poojar, a senior local police official. He also said that of the 14 injured, only three remained in hospital yesterday morning.

Poojar said it was too early to say who was responsible for the blasts. The sound of the blasts, which occurred as thousands of spectators were entering the stadium, sent nervous crowds running in panic.

Bangalore is set to host some of next year’s cricket World Cup matches. The International Cricket Council said it was too early to comment on the attack.

Yesterday two sets of IPL regular season matches were scheduled — one in New Delhi between the Delhi Daredevils and the Deccan Chargers and another in the north Indian hill town of Dharmsala between Kings XI Punjab and the Chennai Super Kings. Sports venues in India have faced tight security amid fears that Islamist radical groups may target them.

Up to 80 foreign players from across the world are contracted to the eight IPL teams.

The second edition of the IPL was moved abroad to South Africa last year because of concern that the security forces would be too stretched by a clash of dates between the federal elections and the lucrative Twenty20 cricket tournament.

In late 2008, the first edition of the Twenty20 Champions League — featuring the leading provincial teams from five countries — was canceled in the wake of terror attacks in Mumbai which left 164 dead.

Neighboring Pakistan, which sees near-daily bombings from militants, has been off limits to foreign cricket teams since gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team’s bus in Lahore last year, killing six police officers and the van’s driver.

The Pakistan Cricket Board was forced to organize its home series in the United Arab Emirates and will play Australia later this year in England.

Cricket Australia said yesterday that it was closely monitoring the security situation in India, but it was too early to discuss ramifications for next year’s World Cup, while New Zealand Cricket still plans to tour India in November despite the recent attack.

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