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Long haul blues for teams in Galle

cricket Updated: Jul 17, 2010 00:36 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
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It may be one of the most popular holiday spots Sri Lanka. But the Indian team is not finding their stay in the southwestern city anything like a picnic as they prepare for Sunday's first Test against Sri Lanka.

Why the long faces? The players have been put up in a hotel that's "just too far" from the Galle International Stadium.

Both teams have been made to stay at Heritance, a resort in Ahungulla village, a good 40 kms from Galle. While cricketers are often accused of being soft, this is one grievance that is worth looking at seriously.

"It took us 50 minutes to reach the ground for practice today," a member of the team said. "Wasting so much of time, when you're preparing for a Test match just doesn't make sense."

And it's not only the Indian team who is finding it difficult to cope with travelling two hours daily for eight days in succession. "It is a bit of a concern but it's the same for both teams," said a member of Sri Lanka's support staff.

Neither the Indian team management nor the Board of Control for Cricket in India have a say in where the team is staying, as accommodation is the responsibility of the host board in a bilateral series.

Since the itinerary was changed at the last minute to accommodate India's request for a tour game, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) could not find a resort closer to the stadium. As per the initial itinerary, the first Test was to start on July 14.

However, SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga was irritated when asked why the teams were forced to so much every day. "I have not received any complaint, so why should I talk to you," he said. "It's the right of the home board to choose the hotels."