When Robin Singh, coach of the Hyderabad team, and Kanwaljit Singh, the assistant-coach who has played all his cricket here, along with a couple of the players came for an early net session before the start of their first home match, they were in for a rude shock. The obstinate security officials refused entry to the Mercedes Benz at the gate and even the sight of these four members of the Hyderabad unit in official training gear did not persuade them to give in. Eventually Robin & Co had to enter through a gate all the way across the complex and then hike to the practice nets.
There were many vacant seats in the stands but one conspicuous one in the press box was right behind the bowler's arm, probably the best seat in the place. It was the spot assigned to Blessington Thomas, a hugely popular scorer and statistician who had been associated with Hyderabad cricket for over three decades. Thomas died last December after a heart attack. His knowledge of the game, constant good cheer and wit were sorely missed in the press box. With this being the first big game in Hyderabad since his passing, reporters stood up as one and observed a moment's silence to mark his passing.
Only recently, Gary Kirsten admitted he felt a twinge when India beat South Africa in the Kanpur Test. There's someone in the Delhi camp whose loyalties will be sorely tested over this event. Ashish Kapoor, assisting T.A. Sekar at GMR, is a Tamil-speaking Punjabi who has lived in Chennai for the best part of his life. For good measure he's represented Tamil Nadu, Punjab, HP, Rajasthan, and Tripura in the Ranji. And now he's begun an innings with the Delhi team.