Promising wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has reached Manchester and joined the Indian team preparing for the much-awaited World Cup tie against Pakistan on Sunday. The BCCI on Saturday tweeted an image of Pant in Indian gear at the Old Trafford.
Elaborate security arrangements in place
Sunday is not just any other day. Arch-rivals India and Pakistan are set to clash at the Old Trafford in Manchester and there is no denying the fact that it is one of the biggest rivalries on the cricket pitch. Emotions run high not just among the players, but also the fans and that has seen the International Cricket Council (ICC) ensure that all required precautions are taken to avoid any untoward episode in what is billed as the game of the group stages of the 2019 World Cup. Claire Furlong, ICC General Manager, Strategic Communications, said that while she is not in a position to divulge security details, all necessary steps have been taken to ensure a safe environment. “We do not provide details on security issues, suffice to say we work with the police and security services on an ongoing basis. Providing a safe environment for everyone at the World Cup is our priority,” she said. Interestingly, sources in the know of developments said that armed officers are expected to be part of the security arrangement being made for the game and police patrolling is also expected to be at its highest for the much-awaited clash.
India, Pakistan in social media dogfight before the all-important clash
The digital war between the fans of India and Pakistan ahead of the World Cup clash between the two teams on Sunday doesn’t seem to end. First, Star came out with an advertisement where an Indian supporter describes himself as Pakistan’s “abbu” (father), referring to India’s domination over their rivals in the showpiece event. In response to that, Pakistan’s Jazz TV used a spoof of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to create hype over the match. After that, another promotional video came which showed an Indian fan shooting down the tyre of a Pakistan supporter’s bike who mocked him while asking for petrol to reach the airport. And now, another video has come in which an Indian and a Pakistani fan are seated at a barber shop. The actor sporting the Pakistani jersey, addresses the Indian as “abbu” and gives him a handkerchief which the latter would be requiring once the Men in Blue lose in Sunday’s marquee clash in Manchester. Agitated by this, the barber gives the Pakistani “the Abhinandan cut” -- the signature moustache of the Indian Air Force pilot -- instead of a cut like Shahid Afridi. Tennis star Sania Mirza and celebrity commentator Harsha Bhogle have called the advertisements “cringeworthy” saying there was no need to “hype up” the India-Pakistan match with rubbish.