The Indians have arrived
The Indian team landed in Dhaka early this morning and were greeted by dark skies and the omnipresent chance of rain
The Indian team landed in Dhaka early this morning and were greeted by dark skies and the omnipresent chance of rain. Not that it made a difference, as their practice session was at the indoor facility at the Shere Bangla National Stadium (SBNS).
They were scheduled to leave the hotel at 2.00 pm and with the start of the tournament opener between Pakistan and Bangladesh being delayed due to intermittent showers, some of the journalists trekked along the outer circumference of the stadium to watch them practice.
The indoor facility had three practice pitches, with a surface that resembled a hard court used for tennis. The area was as wide as a tennis court, but longer, and into this space trooped 14 squad members plus the support staff while we watched from a viewing area on the first floor – too many journalists and cameramen in too little space.
The players warmed up with short runs along the length of the pitches before disbanding into three groups. One bunch did reflex catching along with Gary Kirsten in one net. Robin Singh conducted pick and throw sessions in another, while Venkatesh Prasad and Paddy Upton tested both catching and direct-hit skills in the third. After the players had done a bit of each, Kirsten indicated it was time to pad up. “Let’s get into 50-over batting mode boys,” he called.
While the Indians practised inside, fans streamed into the SBNS with the weather beginning to clear and we could gauge what was going on as frequent roars accompanied the removal of a cover. The loudest cheer came at around 4.30 pm, an indication that Bangladesh had won the toss.
It was time to head back and we walked to the media centre unhindered through the inside of the ground, keeping just outside the boundary rope, something inconceivable in Indian stadiums with an international match about to get underway in less than 20 minutes.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo