Match referee’s report on conditions leaves the hospitable PCA red faced | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Match referee’s report on conditions leaves the hospitable PCA red faced

England have conducted themselves remarkably well in their interactions with the media with Kevin Pietersen leading the way. The reassuring thing has been a concerted effort not to complain, but it seems Mohali might just test their patience.

cricket Updated: Dec 16, 2008 23:52 IST
Anand Vasu

England have conducted themselves remarkably well in their interactions with the media with Kevin Pietersen leading the way. The reassuring thing has been a concerted effort not to complain, but it seems Mohali might just test their patience.

Mohali has been known as the best venue in India, but when it hosted the last Test against Australia, a few problems crept up. The English were unhappy at the choice of Mohali after they specifically requested to play at a “southern venue”, meaning Bangalore.

England's contention was that it would be logistically easier to go from Chennai to Bangalore and fly directly home in time for Christmas. While that problem seems to have been sorted out, there could be others in store.

Chris Broad, whose son Stuart has been ruled fit to play the second Test, was the match referee for the Australia series. Broad Sr made some piquant observations in his end of tour report that could leave the PCA red faced.

"Cockroaches were found in the umpires’ food trolley on the 1st morning of the match and what food was provided was not hot — not a good start!!!!" wrote Broad in his report, which HT has access to. “Cockroaches were again found in the umpires’ food trolley on the 2nd day!! Eventually, the caterers made a better effort on the 3rd day but the selection of food was poor, made worse by the fact that we had requested a couple of westernised dishes before the match started which didn't turn up!"

The westernised dishes that Broad had asked for were fresh boiled vegetables, boneless chicken and plain fish.

The other aspect that exasperated Broad was the delays caused by people moving in front of the sightscreens. "This is the biggest headache in moving the game forward as no sooner do we get the game flowing does somebody gets up and either walks in front of the screens or stands up over the screens when the bowling is from that end," wrote Broad. "No matter what is said to the ground authorities, it seems impossible to stop people moving! I am at my wit's end!!!"

While this problem was not specific to Mohali, it was exacerbated by the sightscreen motor breaking down, causing a “big delay”. What bothered Broad was that there was no option but to wait till the cogs of the motor were released. The absence of an option to manually move the screen meant a delay of seven minutes.

Broad also found fault with the location of the match referee's room while noting that he rejected the first two options as they were “not ideal given that they were in front of the umpire’' change-rooms, were small and had restricted views".

Inderjit Singh Bindra, the boss-man at Mohali, has a reputation as one of the best cricket administrators in the country, and of a gracious host. He will want to make sure that there is no repeat.