A BCCI official said placards that have ‘4’ and ‘6’ printed are usually arranged by the series sponsors and so far the board has heard nothing about them not being allowed.
Posters, banners and message boards will not be allowed inside the Barsapara Cricket Stadium for Sunday’s T20I between India and Sri Lanka, said Devajit Saikia, secretary Assam Cricket Association (ACA), on Friday. Placards showing “4” and “6” —staple at T20 games—too will not be allowed because they could be used for surrogate advertisements, he said. No marker pens will be allowed inside as well, he said. Only men’s wallets, ladies handbags, mobile phones and vehicle keys will be permitted inside the ground.
With Guwahati’s Commissioner of Police MP Gupta sat on his right, Saikia said the directive had nothing to do with protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that have engulfed most of the state, leading to curfews, internet shutdowns and at least four deaths.
“Everybody is concerned, not just the people of Assam. This is an international event and will have heightened security measures,” said Saikia. To buttress the point, Saikia referred to a stone breaking the Australia team bus window after the T20I here in 2017. “We have to be prepared.” The reason for not allowing placards and posters, said Saikia, was because an arrangement between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and a beverage multi-national has ended, information of which the ACA got around a week back.
A BCCI official said placards that have ‘4’ and ‘6’ printed are usually arranged by the series sponsors and so far the board has heard nothing about them not being allowed. “However, BCCI will abide by whatever the local authorities say on this,” said the official who did not wish to be named.
Gupta did not specify the number of police personnel that would be deployed on Sunday but said no special security arrangements are being made. “We are going through the standard drill and have implemented sufficient number of security personnel,” he said.
“Whatever security protocol we have to follow, we are,” said Saikia. “Nothing more, nothing less. No situation arose where the ACA or the BCCI were skeptical about holding this match. Following a timeline we have prepared for this for a month. That is why we are so relaxed,” said Saikia.
BCCI representative Mamon Majumdar asked spectators—around 27,000 tickets have been sold and a full house of 39,400 is expected—to “behave very nicely because people from outside, other states will watch us and say spectators are very well behaved.”
That is because ACA wants to use Sunday’s game to ready the ground for hosting matches in the Indian Premier League (IPL)— Rajasthan Royals have said they are keen on playing games here which would be a first for the state.
“It is a like a dream situation for us,” Saikia said, adding that the ACA has been trying to convince the IPL Governing Council over the past few years to get games to Guwahati.