2,800 seats to be left empty for Sachin's safety


The Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) will keep 2,800 seats empty as part of its stringent security arrangements, so that Sachin Tendulkar could focus on the Ranji Trophy game against Haryana, possibly his last domestic game in Lahli from Sunday.

The Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium near Rohtak can accommodate only 8,000 spectators, but since the security of Tendulkar and other players is paramount, the HCA is regulating the entry of spectators.

All available 5,200 seats have already been taken up, largely by the people from Lahli and its surrounding areas. About 400 of these seats have been earmarked for the HCA guests for a match that is no more being treated as just a “ domestic game” as Tendulkar will retire from Test cricket after two more matches against the West Indies that will take his tally to 200.

Broadcaster STAR India too has suddenly got interested and it will telecast live the four-day Mumbai-Haryana game, which could turn out to be Tendulkar’s last Ranji tie as he enters his 25th first-class season since making his debut in December 1989.

“The capacity of the stadium is 8,000, but we have decided to keep 2,800 seats vacant on the second floor of the pavilion that also has the teams’ dressing rooms. The entry for players to the stadium and for fans [ to go to the second floor] is from the same gate, the main one,” HCA secretary Anirudh Chaudhry told Mail Today.

“So, to channelise entry into the stadium we will keep those seats empty. Only players, people involved in the broadcast of the match, volunteers, and the media will be allowed from the main gate. This much traffic will be easily manageable,” he said.

“We have taken this measure to avoid an incident when someone gets excited and tries to barge into the dressing room.” Chaudhry, also the BCCI treasurer, said that all free tickets have been distributed.

“Certain tickets have been allocated to district units, and some to Lahli village’s youth. Tickets have been allocated to players and officials, and also to those who have come to our stadium to request for tickets and whose names we have duly noted down in a copy [as part of security measures],” he disclosed.

“We have reached our seating capacity already. All seating is complimentary tickets.” HCA has especially hired private security guards for the match. “We are trying to ensure good playing conditions. We have engaged the services of a security agency. Besides, the local administration is also making plans to maintain law and order,” said Chaudhry.

Tendulkar will need peace around the dressing room as the curator has said that he would prepare a green top for the game. “We will make the pitch as per the BCCI manual. It will have a green top. The best part is that no HCA official interferes in pitch preparations,” curator Jasmer Singh told Mail Today.

“But we all want Sachin to stay at the wicket for the longest possible time and score a century, at least.”

The pitch remains lively as the water- level is unusually high in Lahli. At places water is found only two to four foot below the ground, and that helps in keeping the pitch and outfield green.

Daljeet Singh, head of the BCCI pitch and ground committee, inspected the venue on Sunday.

Chaudhry stressed that no instructions have been given to the curator.

“Last year, Umesh Yadav played for Vidarbha and we lost that match,” he said.

Yadav returned a five- wicket haul to skittle out Haryana for a mere 55 in the first innings, and bagged two more in the second to ensure an eight- wicket win.

It will be the 25th Ranji Trophy match in Lahli, since the venue made its first-class debut seven years ago with a Haryana- Andhra game.

In the 24 matches so far, the highest team total has been 500/ 9 declared by Haryana against Jharkhand in November 2008. And there have been seven instances of teams getting all out inside 100 runs. In all, 27 centuries have been scored at this venue, the highest individual score being Yusuf Pathan’s 195 for Baroda against Haryana in 2010- 11.

Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

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