On the eve of their match against Sri Lanka,the Indian team got a rare day off from cricket,thanks to a political rally,instead of sweating it out at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium on Monday. The security agencies could promise only limited cover for the team bus during the journey to the stadium and the team management decided to forego training.
It gave the players time for themselves,something they rarely get on tours. I completed a small work-out routine within the hotel complex in a small open ground but I didnt want to take a risk of getting injured. Such days provide an opportunity to think about the game but one must not switch off completely as there is a match in less than 24 hours. I played a few games of table tennis near the pool too, Irfan Pathan said.
Mirpurs lack of appeal compared to the modern cities of Adelaide,Brisbane,Sydney meant the players werent too keen to venture out even when normalcy returned later in the evening. As far as cricket-travel destinations go,Mirpur isnt a favoured posting. Outside the hotel,signs of political unrest were visible with police breaking up slogan-shouting dissidents. Inside,notices of the perils of leaving the secure premises were prominently displayed.
On Sunday,though the team management was aware of the rally-call,manager Arindham Ganguly had been confident the training session would happen as per schedule. Late in the night,however,the authorities conveyed that due to lack of security resources because of the demands placed on the police,the team would be without what was termed as adequate security if it decided to step out.
India skipper MS Dhoni was facing such a situation for the first time. We have not had to miss training on the eve of a match,except for weather-related issues,since I have been part of the India team. We got to know about the security situation late last night so we decided it was best to stay indoors, Dhoni said.
The only member of Team India who went out was masseur Ramesh Mane,to pick up provisions and ingredients for the desi meal he conjures up every day,and he was perhaps the busiest man on this forced off-day as players queued up for appointments.
In the evening,members of both sides playing on Tuesday India and Sri Lanka were closeted in team meetings,but the players admitted to missing practice. We wanted to train under lights in the evening as the players were keen to have a hit. But after reassessing the security situation we decided against it, Ganguly said.