With just 10 days to go for the Delhi Commonwealth Games and many countries expressing strong concern about security and hygiene, there's an Australian team in another part of the country who have no problems whatsoever. Ricky Ponting's cricket team is in Chandigarh and they're loving every moment of their stay.
“The security we've had has been fantastic so far. We always get looked after very well in this country,” said vice captain Michael Clarke. “All the players are really excited about being here. Right now we feel very comfortable, and if anything the security has been outstanding.”
Back in Delhi, the story is a bit different. Many big names have already pulled out of the games diminishing its stature. Prominent among them is Dani Samuels, Australia's world champion discus thrower, who pulled out citing health and security concerns. The latest to pull out was England's world champion triple jumper Phillips Idowu who said his family is more important than a medal.
Most of the players that HT spoke seemed happy with the arrangements, and none wanted to take up the offer made by Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young, who said that a player's decision to quit the India tour will not hamper his selection chances for the future series, including the Ashes.
Phillip Hughes a first timer on trip to India said he is soaking up the atmosphere. “I have tried some Indian food and found it to my liking. It is the best accommodation that one can hope for and I think there are adequate security arrangements in place to have things under control,” he said.
For the record the Chandigarh Police are taking no chances. Every visitor entering the hotel is frisked and the road facing the entry gate of the hotel has been blocked for routine traffic. The police has also deployed a Quick Reaction Team (QRT) vehicle and two Police Control Room (PCR) vehicles outside the hotel besides other paramilitary forces.
Simon Katich who has been on tour to India before also said that it's an individual decision of a player. “I have been here before and we never have any problems. The security so far has been fine. We are well looked after here. We are also being kept in loop and are being timely advised from our board, players association and security guys, so we are happy and concentrated at the task ahead,” he said. Katich said. Marcus North, Ben Hilfenhaus also aired similar views.