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India stars light up gloomy day

Sunday was a dull and dreary day in Nottingham. The sun was nowhere to be seen, while the rain just did not cease. The Indian team, largely confined to the hotel, however, had a rare outing in the evening, Arjun Sen reports.

cricket Updated: Jun 09, 2009 00:48 IST
Arjun Sen

Sunday was a dull and dreary day in Nottingham. The sun was nowhere to be seen, while the rain just did not cease. The Indian team, largely confined to the hotel, however, had a rare outing in the evening.

Nat Puri, a British businessman of Indian origin, and one of the richest men in this country, organised a get together and dinner in honour of the team at the Indian Community Centre Association (ICCA) at Hucknall Road. The function saw a large turnout of Indians from in and around Nottingham and was attended by the entire squad.

“He (Puri) always organised this for the team,” said a spokesperson from the ICCA.

“He does it every time the team is in Nottingham.”

Those attending the function were more than happy to spend some ‘quality time’ with the cricketers.

“It was so cool,” said 23-year-old Neha Bhatia. “Dhoni, Yuvraj, Sehwag, they were all there. Never thought I’d be actually going up to them and talking.”

Puri, who is the president of the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, has become one of the richest men in Britain through the success of his company Melton Medes, a £250 million manufacturing and engineering company. He owns two corporate boxes at Trent Bridge and Headingley, and has been known to donate large sums for the development of cricket in this area.

“He is a great philanthropist,” said an ICCA member. “He has been helping the Indian community in Nottingham for a while now.”

As for the players, it was a great chance to move away from the prying eyes of the media and put the raging controversies behind them.