Fans allowed free entry for Dhoni’s last match as Indian captain

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The police hiked up their fee for providing security in anticipation of a greater crowd with it being MS Dhoni’s last match as captain of an Indian side © Associated Press

Fans will be allowed free entry into the Brabourne Stadium to watch the first warm-up game between India A and England after the BCCI agreed to pay the actual cost for the security cover provided by the police. A Cricket Club of India official told ESPNcricinfo that entry for MS Dhoni’s last game as captain of an Indian side would be restricted to the north and east stands, which can accommodate around 10,000 fans, as the west stand was undergoing renovation. If the stands were filled by 3 pm, an hour and a half after the start of the game, the gates will be closed.

The decision to allow fans into the stadium came a day after confusion prevailed around the security arrangements for the game. According to The Hindu and Indian Express, fans were in danger of being locked out after the police demanded Rs 60 lakh to provide security, and the CCI redirected the request to the BCCI. The BCCI, according to the reports, had subsequently instructed the club to not allow spectators and restrict the attendance to members of the Cricket Club of India, in the premises of which the stadium is located, should the police not lower their fee.

According to the CCI official, the police, having initially asked for Rs 2 lakh to provide security, had hiked up the fee after anticipating a greater crowd in the stadium. The request was then forwarded to the BCCI, who, after closed-door meetings with the police department, eventually accepted to cover the actual cost incurred for security late in the evening. The BCCI, it is understood, has communicated the decision in writing to the CCI and the police department.

“There were only 40 policepersons who were set to be deployed initially,” the official said. “There are normally hardly 200-300 people for warm-up matches, but with Dhoni playing his last match as a captain, the game has become high-profile. There will be a bigger crowd now. So, more police personnel will have to be deployed; there will be around 300 policepersons now.

“The CCI gets only a grant of Rs 1 lakh per game from the BCCI and our expenses are generally reimbursed by the board. Even in this issue, the police dealt directly with the BCCI.”

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