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Of dope tests, pressers and Mumbai madness

The Indian team?s departure on January 29, 2003 for South Africa from Mumbai was chaotic, writes Amrit Mathur.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2007 18:56 IST

The Indian team’s departure on January 29, 2003 for South Africa from Mumbai was chaotic, a hundred things were on but nobody knew what was happening.

That morning, the clothing was handed out and, as expected, blazers did not fit, trousers were too tight and tracksuit sizes wildly wrong. Later, the team rushed off for dope tests that took too long because each player was required to produce a urine sample of an acceptable volume. This, with some, proved daunting, despite liberal quantities of liquids being consumed.

This delay impacted other engagements. Sehwag failed to keep the 6pm deadline for the team photo but the others smiled brightly into cameras despite being harassed by an army of photographers. Ultimately, after much screaming and jostling, the moment was captured for posterity .

After this, the captain headed for the press conference, held in a large hall normally used for wedding receptions. Sourav answered questions calmly but almost lost his cool when a young (and aggressive) female journo wanted him to assess all 14 teams. He responded with remarkable restraint: ‘What paper do you work for?’ Equally tricky was the suggestion