MANCHESTER: The Indian team is on a well earned break after beating Pakistan in the World Cup’s biggest marquee match. The players have been given time to be as they like for two days before they assemble again in Southampton for the match against Afghanistan on June 22.
This is not unusual. Teams on long tours are given time to disperse, chill and recuperate. What stands out is the fact that they are travelling by bus. That’s what the high-flying boys in blue did when they were in England for a Test series as well. It is also the arrangement for the other teams taking part in cricket’s showpiece tournament. The ICC does the bookings, after consulting the respective teams. England being a country where one venue from another is not further than a few hours by road makes it a logistical possibility.
So even if you think the most affluent cricket team in the world does most of its travelling high up on the air, here is the reality. They move from one city to another by bus. With 15 players plus Khaleel Ahmed and Rishabh Pant, there are about 31 in the contingent including two local security officials. They all get into the coach after every match. Another vehicle ferries the kits, AKA cricket coffins, because the buses don’t have space for that amount of load.
They could have done this by train which takes about half the time but it would have involved difficulties like security arrangements. It’s not possible to hire an entire train. From station to hotel might have meant additional logistical headaches as well. That’s why buses are more convenient. They are door to door, with total privacy. No problem with selfie-seekers either, which is unavoidable if you are availing of any other mode of transportation.
If Virat Kohli & Co is in another country, things are different. In Australia for example, inter-city commute is by air all the time. The distance between the cities is such that there is hardly any other alternative. It’s the same in South Africa and New Zealand. England is possibly the only country where this is done by bus. It’s not a bad idea also because the countryside here is scenic and verdant. Those with an eye for such sceneries can enjoy the sight.
For the trip to Southampton from Manchester an exception can be made because of the distance. It takes nearly eight hours on the fastest of coach services and the team is on a break. There will be a bus to the southern tip of England for the Indian team, but the squad members have the choice of taking any other route of their preference for this leg. If they want, they can join the team in Southampton on the scheduled date using any mode of transportation they want.