The cricketers flew in from Hyderabad, their baggage travelled by road. That effectively ruled out whatever little chance there was for a late afternoon knockabout at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation Stadium on Friday.
After the long haul from Jodhpur which included flying in and
out of New Delhi - where the bandwagon put up for the night - to here on a chartered flight from Hyderabad, practice wouldn't have been uppermost on the agenda anyway, so it was just as well.
No one is complaining but West Indies captain Carl Hooper, who will go to Australia for knee surgery after the battle for the TVS Cup ends on Sunday while the rest of squad under Ridley Jacobs heads for Bangladesh, said everyone was very tired.
Therefore, after a brief welcome ceremony, DND (Do Not Disturb) became the buzzword at the D V Manor Hotel. Sir Issac Vivian Alexander Richards, now the chairman of selectors for the visitors, chirped with friends but wasn't half as cheerful when some reporters showed up. From Rahul Dravid to Ricky Skeritt, everyone was too fatigued to talk.
The squeaky clean city of huge cinema cutouts will thus have to wait till Saturday for their first real glimpse of the India and West Indies teams. Both will practice in the morning.
The West Indies have been bolstered by Jermaine Lawson's arrival. The fast bowler who debuted in Chennai couldn't make it in time for Jodhpur but has since joined the squad. It isn't official yet but Mervyn Dillon may not have any further part to play.
Security here is tight but unobtrusive. A force of 140 has been deployed at the teams' hotel, an employee there said. Each floor--- three of the four in the hotel have been taken by the cricket caravan --- has seven plainclothes policemen. And though 67 of the total 94 rooms have been booked for anyone and everyone here for Sunday's finale, regular guests are being allowed as well.
Tickets, however, were not. The 28,000-seater has been sold out even though some tickets are priced at Rs. 2000. PR Viswanathan, who supervised the relaying of this track, was sure it would also take spin. That would make pleasant hearing for Murli Kartik and Harbhajan Singh, though it isn't yet clear whether the 'Turbanator' will play.