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Novelty leaves India players spellbound

When it comes to offering comforts to its national team, no board can match the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Considering the tight schedule after the Test series, which concluded in Colombo on Saturday, the team management arranged for special choppers to ferry the players to Dambulla, the venue of the tri-series.

cricket Updated: Aug 08, 2010 23:42 IST
Amol Karhadkar

When it comes to offering comforts to its national team, no board can match the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Considering the tight schedule after the Test series, which concluded in Colombo on Saturday, the team management arranged for special choppers to ferry the players to Dambulla, the venue of the tri-series.

Since there are no daily flights from the national capital to this wildlife haven in the northeastern part, two helicopters flew the squad to their destination.

The “4000-feet” ride, according to a player, that lasted nearly “40 minutes” helped the team avoid a four-hour journey by road and get into the groove ahead of Tuesday's opening game against New Zealand. Though the journey “wasn't much different than that in an aircraft”, the players were “mesmerised by the view from the copter”.

“Since a full day would have been lost had we travelled by road, it was thought that flying by helicopter would kick-start the players' preparations,” said manager Ranjib Biswal. “With just two days between the Test series and tri-series, we couldn't afford to waste a day travelling.”

The players made maximum use of the additional time. Though no player turned up at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium for practice, some of them hit the gymnasium at the hotel. Later in the day, they also had a session at the swimming pool followed by a video analysis session.

New Zealand too have arrived after defeating Sri Lanka A in their second warm-up tie at Pallekele, near Kandy, on Saturday. Both teams will slog it out on Monday before Tuesday's face-off.