The England team’s training session on Wednesday afternoon was delayed by more than an hour as Eoin Morgan’s men had to wait for baggage to arrive from the airport. Both India and England stayed back in Pune till a day before the match as hotel rooms were not available in Bhubaneswar. It is marriage season here and most hotels are booked to capacity.
It was not really known what caused the delay but there were visible organisational issues. The entire set of Orissa Cricket Association office-bearers --- from president Ranjib Biswal to secretary Ashirbad Behera --- are now ineligible to continue following the Lodha panel reforms. At the moment, CEO Bidyut Naik is in charge of the organisational part. And obviously, the new team is facing teething problems.
The kits of both the teams arrived at the Barabati Stadium together around 5.20pm. So India’s optional training session, attended only by KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni, went ahead on time. But the England team, which arrived in full force 15 minutes after the baggage did, could start their training only at 5.45pm instead of the scheduled 4.30pm.
SHORT BALLS? BRING THEM ON SAYS RAHUL
England fast bowler Jake Ball told reporters on Tuesday that their strategy would be to bounce out Virat Kohli. “Under the lights, where it might skid on a little bit, the short ball is something that you can use a bit more,” Ball had said while talking of strategies to stop the in-form India skipper.
A journalist travelling with the England team asked KL Rahul on Wednesday whether the strategy would work against Virat. “Good luck to England,” Rahul replied with a smile. On a more serious note, he said: “Virat has so many runs under his belt. A lot of those runs have come off short bowling,” he said.
“Not all of us worry about short balls any more. We like to score off them. Knowing Virat and having watched him score so many centuries, I don’t think short deliveries are going to trouble him.
STILL THE KEY
Ashirbad Behera was quietly sitting beside the sightscreen at the Clock Tower end around noon when a person ran up to him to inform that the press assigned to print media cards was printing something else and so distribution of the match passes was getting delayed. The veteran organiser made a phone call. The matter looked settled.
Then the person in charge of food and beverages complained: “We need R2000 to serve refreshments to some of the people working here and now we hear we have to get the funds sanctioned from the BCCI central committee?”
Behera smiled quietly.