Indians confined to Colombo: Is it Cricket ?


Tuesday 19, August 1997

What constitutes a cricket tour ?

The Oxford dictionary defines a 'tour' as: ``journey through a place, visiting things of interest or giving performances''.

The Indian cricket team which is currently in this country have not been able to achieve any of what has been defined in the dictionary, because of the short-sightedness of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka.

Their tour of Sri Lanka has been confined to the city of Colombo and its suburbs so much so that it was not surprising for the Indian team manager to make a informal request to the president and the chief executive of the BCCSL at the dinner hosted on their behalf at the Taj Hotel on Friday.

``The next time you have such a long tour please keep us out of Colombo for some days,'' pleaded manager Professor Chetty.

``For the last 34 days we have been meeting the same people in the hotel, in the lobby, at the breakfast table. One of my boys told me in some ways it was like a luxury jail which they have been put into,'' said the manager.

India arrived here on July 12 to participate at the Pepsi Asia Cup (all the matches were held in Colombo) and then stayed back to play two Tests and three one-day internationals in addition to two side games.

Since they first set foot here the tourists have been guests at the Taj Hotel.

A cricket tour of any other country would mean playing matches at different parts of the country.

The Indians' only brief visit out of Colombo was to play a one-day practice match at Moratuwa.

They were scheduled to play a three-day match at Matara before the Test series, but that game too was transferred to Colombo on the pretext that the weather was bad over there.

The Matara cricket authorities we understand were not too happy with the decision of having the game taken away from them after virtually finalising arrangements to host the match. They are now not too keen to undertake the four-day Test and the one-day game against the Australian Academy side which is scheduled to tour the country next month.

According to Cricket Board sources, Kandy was not allotted any matches because it is the rainy season there and, Kurunegala are not in a position to undertake international matches due to its District Cricket Association being inactive.

By confining international cricket only to Colombo, outstation cricket will not be developed. How many fans would have thronged the stadiums in Matara, Kurunegala or Kandy to witness stars like Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Arjuna Ranatunga and Roshan Mahanama in action ?

``Something which really touched us since we arrived is the excellent hospitality extended to us. Most of the players have been coming here quite often. It is the third or fourth trip for some and each time they come they feel like coming again,'' said Professor Chetty.

The manager said Sri Lanka's tour to India later this year would be keenly looked forward to.

``With the present form they are in, I am sure they will be a hit in India. All Indians will be looking forward to their visit,'' said Professor Chetty who is the secretary of Mumbai Cricket Association.

Sri Lanka are due to tour India at the end of November for three Tests to be played at Mumbai, Mohali and Nagpur and three one-day internationals.

Source: The Daily News

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 15:04