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Team India gets bodyguards

The players who did go out for meals or other functions were duly accompanied by their bodyguards in plain clothes.

cricket Updated: Oct 20, 2007 13:55 IST

The Indian cricketers, who are staying at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai for their matches against Australia, have been provided police protection and bodyguards, who are to accompany them whenever they venture out of the hotel, particularly at night.

On Friday night, someone knocked at the door of a player and said: "Sir, I am your bodyguard. If you go out of the hotel, please let me know."

That the player granted him 'leave', saying that he had no plans to go out, is a different matter. The players who did go out for meals or other functions were duly accompanied by their bodyguards.

These bodyguards are in plainclothes and park themselves in the hotel lobby. However, they did not stop fans from taking autographs or photographs whenever a player emerged from the elevators or stepped out from the restaurant on Friday night.

Watch matches and get paid!

Guess what all senior national selectors get for watching One-Day Internationals and Test matches. They were given Rs 25,000 for each of the seven ODIs against Australia recently. And that is not all. They also get $70 (around Rs 3,000) as daily allowance, free five-star hospitality, air fare and other benefits.

Besides the ODI fees, the cricket board also recently revised payments for selectors for watching Tests. From the upcoming home series against Pakistan each of the five selectors will get Rs 50,000 for watching a Test.

This is besides the Rs 15,000 daily allowance and the other benefits they get for watching an international match. So it is in the interest of each selector to have a Test match run for all five days.

And they obviously get vantage positions at the stadiums, with VIP treatment thrown in. So being a national selector is not just about being under pressure from all and sundry all the time ... there are obvious advantages too!

Fans come from far and wide

Saturday's India-Australia Twenty20 International has attracted spectators from not just across the country. Many living abroad have cleverly timed their vacation to coincide with this matches and the just-concluded one-day international series.

Muscat-based Kanak G Khimji, an Indian who owns one of the largest business conglomerates in the Sultanate of Oman, has timed his India visit to perfection.

"There were five days of Eid holidays in Oman, so I decided to fly to India and also watch the cricket matches. My son was also here but he has gone back," Khimji said with a smile at the Brabourne Stadium, venue of Saturday's Twenty20 International.

Khimji is a member of the Garware Club as well as the Cricket Club of India, which owns Brabourne Stadium. The businessman was in Pakistan too last year to watch the matches during India's tour of its neighbour.

CCI misses Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar, whose cricket career took off when he represented the Cricket Club of India (CCI), will be missed in the Indian team's dressing room at Brabourne Stadium as India plays Australia in the Twenty20 International here Saturday.

Tendulkar, who made his CCI debut under Hemant Kenkre, a relative of Sunil Gavaskar, would have loved to return to the ground where he learnt the nuances of the game.

But the Mumbai maestro, along with Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, opted out of last month's Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa, and the selectors retained the same, title-winning squad for Saturday's game. And so Tendulkar won't be part of the first ever Twenty20 International played on Indian soil.