Huge security clampdown for World Cup

DHAKA, February 19, 2011 (AFP) – The opening game of the World Cup Saturday sees a huge security operation swing into action designed to prevent any repeat of the deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team that still haunts the sport. Around 20,000 members of Bangladesh’s elite paramilitary force the Rapid Action Battalion and regular officers have been deployed in Dhaka for the first match, police spokesman M. Sohail told AFP.

“All cricket venues, airports, the nine official hotels and transport for all the teams and officials fall under our security blanket,” Sohail said as India and Bangladesh prepared to open the event.

Memories are still fresh of the attack in Lahore in March 2009 when gunmen ambushed the team bus carrying Sri Lanka’s Test squad in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Eight people were killed and seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach injured.

The attack led to Pakistan’s removal by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as a co-host of the World Cup.

The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) in a statement on Friday said its security consultants — Eastern Star International (ESI) — had “found proposed security arrangements to be sound.”

“ESI informed t