MANCHESTER   -   Armed officers will be part of the huge policing operation in place for the the India versus Pakistan match. The two countries face-off at Old Trafford on Sunday in one of sport’s biggest games and bitterest rivalries.

Due to the frosty relations between the pair, they only play each other in world tournaments such as the world cup. Their last meeting was the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy at the Oval which attracted a worldwide audience of over half a billion people meaning the fixture is regarded as one of the biggest in world sport. It was a huge coup for Lancashire Cricket Club bosses when they were awarded the match, the first of six being staged at Old Trafford.

Both sides have large British fan-bases and there were a staggering half a million ticket applications for the match, meaning 25,000 capacity Old Trafford could have been sold out 20 times over. They have since been changing hands for over £2,500 on secondary ticketing sites.

A big screen in a special ‘fan village’ in Cathedral Gardens in the city centre which can hold up to 3,500 people will also be showing game.

The political and military tensions between Pakistan and their neighbours India have led to police chiefs being mindful of the threat of a potential terror attack as well as things boiling over in the stands.

Despite no specific intelligence of any threat, a big policing operation will be in place on Sunday. Police are remaining tight-lipped on numbers for operational reasons but it is thought to be the biggest ever for a cricket game in the city. And they have confirmed armed officers will form of the increased police presence both around the ground and in the city centre.

A spokesman said: “As with many major sporting events held in Manchester, armed officers will form part of our policing operation during matches at the Cricket World Cup – including the India v Pakistan fixture.