India Sports
Media sweats it out as cricket bosses discuss Cup debacle
Apr 6, 2007 - 2:55:25 PM

Mumbai, April 6 - Police, private security guards and barricades kept media personnel at bay on a hot and humid Friday afternoon as top cricket administrators stayed closeted in an air-conditioned boardroom to discuss India's World Cup debacle.

Mumbai Police and the security agency employed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India - had marked an area for the media personnel to park themselves and their equipment. A few plastic chairs were placed right under the sun.

Soon, a few more rolling traffic barriers, normally seen on roads for checking vehicles, came in a large police van to keep the increasing numbers of media persons further away from the main gate of the Cricket Centre, as the building housing the BCCI and Mumbai Cricket Association - headquarters at the Wankhede Stadium is called.

No outdoor broadcasting van of the television channels was allowed inside the stadium.

Journalists, who had arrived here from different parts of the country to cover the crucial meeting, were seen continuously wiping sweat and drinking water at regular intervals. There was no apparent effort from the BCCI to provide water or even proper shelter to the huge posse of television and print media.

'Look, where cricket has taken us to. We have reached such a stage that we are covering more off-the-field cricket than on-field action,' a journalist remarked ruefully.

Whenever someone came out of the main entrance of the Cricket Centre, photographers and cameramen, most of whom had climbed on to the barricades to get a vantage position, shouted - partly seriously and partly in jest - to get a clear vision thinking they were officials.

The meeting, which started a little after 10 a.m., was scheduled to take stock of India's first-round exit from the World Cup on the basis of the reports submitted by coach Greg Chappell and team manager Sanjay Jagdale along with captain Rahul Dravid's inputs.

Selection committee chairman Dilip Vengsarkar, along with the eight top BCCI officials, met for the first for the three meetings Friday and Saturday. Only Lalit Modi, one of the five vice-presidents, was not present as he is reportedly not well.

Chappell, who told the board Wednesday that he would not seek renewal of his contract following the end of his nearly two-year term, was the first to leave the meeting after almost two hours. He slipped into a waiting car in the portico just after noon and sped away without speaking to the media.

There was speculation that a section of BCCI wanted Chappell to reconsider his decision.

It was also speculated that Sachin Tendulkar, who had hit out at Chappell in an interview two days ago, would also be invited for the meeting, perhaps for a face-to-face with the coach. But he eventually did not turn up. There was, however, speculation that he might show up for the second meeting of the day.

According to unconfirmed reports, Chappell has in his report largely blamed the seniors for India's first-round exit from the World Cup with two defeats in three matches. One of the defeats came against Bangladesh, a supposedly weak team.

The BCCI working committee is to meet Saturday. At this meeting, chief Sharad Pawar will apprise the members about Friday's discussion with Chappell, Dravid, Jagdale and Vengsarkar.

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