There's little to cheer about for the discards

  • N Ananthanarayanan, Hindustan Times, Roseau, Dominica
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  • Updated: Jul 05, 2011 00:04 IST

The thick rain forests, rolling hills and the low clouds hanging near the peaks provide a breathtaking view much before the 48-seater plane skims over the trees and sways wildly before touching down on the small runway.

Dominica is a world away from the blue seas and white sand that most of the other Caribbean islands offer, particularly the traditional cricket stopovers. Over 350 streams and rivulets criss-cross this home to the Carib tribe with a population of just 72,000. The dense forests make it an eco-tourism hub if you are a trekker more than a diver.

Apart from the hordes of divers who fly in around the year, a cruise of the Caribbean Sea also provides a breathtaking experience of watching frolicking whales.

It will also be a trip into the unknown for India, who will feature in the first-ever Test to be played at the imposing Windsor Park Stadium, which dominates the town. Just four one-dayers have been played here and it will be interesting how the fans warm up to the world's No. 1 Test team in town.

The distance from the Melville Hall airport, in the northeast, to the capital town of Roseau is 72 km away, and the drive through the narrow, winding roads, mostly along the Atlantic Ocean, takes over 90 minutes.

It can be an adventure, if you are a tourist. Otherwise, it can be another interminably long journey if you happen to be one those in the India squad who have not got a game in the Test series or have been left out of the England tour. The mood is sombre for the likes of Parthiv Patel and Pragyan Ojha, who have not played a Test so far, and find themselves out of the England squad.

It remains to be seen whether Parthiv, the standby wicketkeeper and opener, gets a go in the final Test that starts on Wednesday. Parthiv, who lost his Test spot due to poor 'keeping, has been distinctly unlucky that despite not being tested in front or behind the stumps, he has had to make way for Wriddhiman Saha as the number two wicketkeeper for England.

Although Murali Vijay flopped in both Tests and has been dropped for England, skipper MS Dhoni had encouraging words for him as he spoke about the task of having to break the bad news to team-mates while encouraging them to keep going.

The body language of Parthiv, S Badrinath, who squandered a Test chance due to his poor run in the one-dayers, and Ojha reflect their mood, even as they take active part in the nets and routine game of soccer.

"This is a difficult one because I personally had to interact with them about what is happening," said Dhoni. "If not (selected), there is fair amount of exposure to international cricket."


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