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Friday, March 20, 2009

IPL seeks 80 bullet-proof vehicles

The Indian Premier League is looking for 80 bullet-proof cars and buses to transport players in a bid to secure government clearance for their Twenty20 tournament, local media reported on Friday.
The tournament, scheduled to take place from April 10 to May 24, has yet to be given the home ministry's approval after security concerns escalated in the wake of the attack on the Sri Lankan team in neighbouring Pakistan.
The Indian Express reported that the IPL has said they need 64 bullet-proof cars and 16 buses and wanted them within 15 days, while the Times of India reported the IPL's South African security consultants had approached an Indian company.
"This is a recommendation that has been given to us. We're looking into it and we're hoping we will manage it," the Indian Express quoted an unnamed league official as saying.
When contacted by Reuters, an IPL official said they had no comment to make on the reports.
A number of foreign players feature in the lucrative league and are looking for extra safety assurances but the Indian company approached felt there is not enough time to prepare such a large order.
"The IPL management approached us last week for this order," Sanchit Sobti, a director of Laggar Industries, told the Express.
"We have not accepted it yet as they're giving us too little time to execute this project.
"It takes at least two months to armour a vehicle, and they want us to bullet-proof 64 cars and 16 buses in a fortnight," he said. "We need some five months to execute that kind of order.
"A hurried, shoddy job is neither our sort of work, nor is it desirable since it is a sensitive issue and would hit our credibility in case of a security lapse."
The IPL organisers are also trying to hire bullet-proof vehicles, but they are mainly used by politicians, who have their own security concerns in the thick of campaigning for the general election, which starts on April 16.
Six Sri Lankan players were injured and seven Pakistanis killed when gunmen ambushed the team bus in Lahore earlier this month.

Tendulkar ton as India build healthy lead

Sachin Tendulkar scored a masterly 160, his 42 Test hundred, as India took a healthy 241-run first innings lead on Day 3 of the first Test against New Zealand in Hamilton on Friday.
Resuming at their overnight 278 for four, in reply to New Zealand's 279, the Indian innings folded at 520, when tea was called.
Thanks to an industrious 115-run sixth-wicket partnership between Tendulkar and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (47), and a quick-fire unbeaten 51 not out by Zaheer Khan , India established a sizeable lead.
The visitors have reached a position from where they can entertain hopes of winning their first Test in New Zealand since 1976.
Tendulkar was on top of his game, beginning the day with an exquisite cover drive off Chris Martin that set the tempo for the rest of the first session. The little genius was in an aggressive mode as boundaries oozed out of his willow. A backfoot cover drive off Martin bore the class. An elegant whip of the pads and a back cut off Lain O'Brien were followed by a brace of boundaries -- an on-drive and a square drive -- off Jesse Ryder .
The Kiwis merely watched in awe as the master batsman moved into top gear, working the ball delightfully off the square.
The 35-year-old run-machine, who notched his third hundred in four Tests since the 109 at Nagpur last November, pulled farther away from Ricky Ponting's 37 hundreds from 129 Tests.
Having recorded his 19th score over 150, Tendulkar eventually fell to a short ball from a bumper-happy Iain O'Brien, Ross Taylor pouching the lobbed cherry at first slip.
Fast bowler Zaheer then took India past 500-run mark with his 46-ball cameo. He cashed on a dropped chance to notch up his third Test fifty, which was studded with eight fours. He and last-man out Munaf Patel (9) put up 28 runs for the 10th wicket.
Earlier in the day, India lost Yuvraj Singh in dramatic fashion. Venturing to shoulder arms to a break-back from Martin, the left-hander sheepishly had his off-peg rattled. He made 22 before starting his walk back to the hut.