A reserved train coach during the World Cup in England next year, permission for wives to accompany players for the entire tour — and bananas.
These were some of the requests that the Indian team, led by Virat Kohli, put forward in their review meeting with the Committee of Administrators (CoA) in Hyderabad on the way forward after the disappointing England tour that ended on September 11.
Of all the requests, sources told The Indian Express, the plea for bananas in the dressing room startled the CoA.
“Apparently, the England cricket board failed to serve the Indian team with the fruit of their choice during the tour. But the CoA was amused by the request and said that the players should have told the team manager to buy bananas on the BCCI’s expenses,” sources said.
“There were other demands about booking hotels with a proper gym and discussions about the duration and protocol regarding wives accompanying players on tours,” sources said.
India started the two-month England tour by winning the T20 series but went on to lose the ODI and Test series that followed. The review meeting, held before the West Indies Test series started this month, was attended by Kohli, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, senior player Rohit Sharma, coach Ravi Shastri and chairman of selection committee MSK Prasad.
The other demand that raised eyebrows in the CoA — from the security point of view — was the preference for train travel in England during next year’s World Cup.
This request follows a decision by the CoA that wives of players travelling to Australia for the tour starting next month will not be allowed to travel in the official team bus. Instead, the CoA said, a private vehicle will be arranged for the wives to travel separately. “There have been instances in past where a few players have driven with their wives separately. The board wants to stop that practice as it affects team bonding,” sources said.
For the World Cup in England, the players argued that rail travel saves time and is more comfortable. “The CoA was initially not willing to agree because it was worried about security. But it was informed by Kohli that the England team travelled by train… The team wants a coach to be blocked and booked. The CoA was worried about travelling Indian fans mobbing the train. Eventually, the committee agreed under the condition that the CoA or BCCI won’t be held responsible if anything untoward happens,” sources said.
The third key request triggered a long debate — about wives accompanying players. Kohli had earlier requested the BCCI to allow wives for the entire duration of tours so that the players can relax and take their minds off the game after matches. However, the CoA said that it would seek the written consent of all team members individually before taking a decision.
”It was felt that some players might view this as a distraction during tours. They (CoA) want to make sure that everyone is onboard before they give the green light,” sources said.
CoA member Diana Edulji had earlier told The Indian Express that the BCCI would not be in a hurry as it was a policy decision. Until a decision is taken, the board will follow established norms that allow wives to accompany players for two weeks in the middle of a tour.