Delhi take on Saurashtra in a vital Ranji Trophy game here from Monday. On Saturday, they spent 17 hours on the road getting here from the Capital. As a result, the players were completely exhausted at the only practice session available to them on Sunday.
The team’s flight to Ahmedabad, scheduled to leave at 6am from Delhi on Saturday, was delayed by almost eight hours because of fog. Then, from Ahmedabad, they had to travel six hours by road to Rajkot, finally getting to the hotel here at 9:30pm.
Everyone knows morning flights are often disrupted by the Delhi winters, so why opt for that option? Then, instead of a long road journey, it made more sense to have flown to Rajkot via Mumbai. The Ranji Trophy schedules are known months in advance, so what was the DDCA doing?
What is worse is that this happened two years ago too, when the team reached Vizag late for the game against Andhra. The then coach Madan Lal said: “There has to be some thinking in the DDCA, whether it's cricket or travelling. With proper organising, the players could have been saved from going through this hell.” DDCA chose to downplay the issue. Sports Secretary Sunil Dev said he had given the team management options but they wanted to go via Ahmedabad.
“I discussed it with the players as well as (coach) Chetan Chauhan and manager DS Bawa and they said that the roads are better in Gujarat,” said Dev. Chauhan blamed it on the weather: “The Mumbai flight would also have got delayed.” Obviously, the thought of going to Mumbai a day ahead occurred to no one. Or more likely, the DDCA does not like to spend money on its players.
It's one of these — bad planning, an unwillingness to spend money on the players or sheer callousness. Take your pick.