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Indian cricketers' security tightened in Brisbane after hostage crisis

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 15, 2014 19:02 IST
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It's too early to comment on the fate of the Sydney Test, which starts December 26; for us the tour is still on, says Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Sanjay Patel.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane of India leave the field at the conclusion of day two of the First Test against Australia at Adelaide Oval

India's Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane leave the field at the conclusion of Day 2 in the First Test against Australia at Adelaide Oval. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Security around India’s cricketers has been significantly beefed up in Brisbane in the wake of the hostage crisis in Sydney, with the government saying the team is "national treasure" and no effort will be spared to ensure its safety.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said Australia’s authorities have conveyed to the government that the team's security has been enhanced.

“Indian cricket team is a national treasure and no effort will be spared to ensure their security. We have been in touch with the Australian authorities who have confirmed to us that they have significantly beefed up the security (of the team)," he said.

India is currently playing a four-Test series in Australia and the second Test in Brisbane is due to start on Wednesday.

The spokesperson said the Australian authorities told the government that strict security will be ensured during the team's stay in Australia.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India said it is keeping a close watch on the unfolding events there

"We are constantly in touch with Cricket Australia top bosses. We are monitoring the situation closely and security of our players is paramount. The players are in Brisbane and everything is normal there," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said.

"However, the security of the Indian team has been beefed up considerably. We have been informed by Cricket Australia that additional police forces have been deployed with the Indian team. We are happy with what CA has arranged," he added.

 An armed man, on Monday, took undisclosed number of people, including an Indian techie, at Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place, Sydney, and forced to display an Islamic flag, triggering a security alert and an evacuation of nearby buildings, including the Indian consulate in the city.

Authorities sealed off surrounding streets, evacuated people from buildings, and suspended rail services following the siege in the capital of New South Wales.

NSW Police have activated Task Force Pioneer, which they use in terrorism-related incidents, to handle the pre-Christmas incident.

Asked if the incident could have an impact on the fourth Test of the series, scheduled in Sydney from January 6, Patel said it was too early to comment on it.

"We haven't reached that stage as next Test is in Brisbane. It's too early to comment on the fate of the Sydney Test. We are confident CA will take appropriate measures to ensure safety and security. At this point I can't say anything about Sydney Test. For us the tour is still on," he said.

It was not clear exactly how many people remained inside the cafe at Martin Place, a plaza that is packed with holiday shoppers this time of year.

However, Sky News reported that about 12 people were being held hostage.

Andrew Scipione, the commissioner of New South Wales police, said at a news briefing that an unknown number of hostages were being held in the cafe by at least one gunman.

Bengaluru-headquartered Infosys said one of its employees is among the hostages at the cafe.

"We can confirm that one Infosys employee is among the hostages at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney," the company said in a statement without naming the person.

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