Dravid news creates ripples in Durban | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Dravid news creates ripples in Durban

cricket Updated: Sep 15, 2007 03:22 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The Indian and Pakistani teams are put up at the same hotel - the Elangeni - across the North Beach. As the news of Rahul Dravid's stepping down as captain of the Indian cricket team trickled in, journalists started gathering to get statements from the team members and the players started switching their mobile phones off one by one.

After the morning team meeting, the Indian players either preferred to stay indoors or go out for lunch using the backdoor exit. And when a couple of them walked into the lobby, they just stared at the bunch of newsmen waiting to pounce on them and rushed back into the lift.

Administrative manager Sunil Dev and cricket manager Lalchand Rajput stepped up to soothe the mediamen and answer their questions. "Were the players taken aback by Dravid's decision?", they were asked. "They were a little surprised," said Dev. "They have spoken to each other and have set it aside for the time being and decided to focus on the game (against Pakistan)."

But the most telling comment came from a member of the Pakistan team. As he was returning to the room from the breakfast table, he heard about Dravid's resignation from a reporter. This brought a smile to the Pakistani player's lips. He said, "Aur aap kehte hain ki sirf hamari hi team main controversy hoti hain (you keep saying that controversy happens only in our team)."

Full house? Not really

It's unusual for India and Pakistan to face each other in front of stands which have some empty seats. Friday was one such occasion as almost one-fourth of the 25,000 bucket seats at Kingsmead were unoccupied.

As the locals were saying, it was probably due to Thursday's washout and the weather forecast for Friday. The weatherman had predicted a 60 per cent chance of rain on Friday evening.

However, the rain stayed away and some of the seats were occupied. And the happiest lot after watching the match starting on time was a bunch of 50 fans from India who were on a package tour offered by a travelling company from Mumbai.

"We had to enjoy ourselves with the music yesterday and since it was a match versus Scotland we were not so disappointed," they said. "We don't want a single ball to be missed due to rain today."