HYDERABAD: The practice session of the West Indies team ahead of the second Test was in full flow when those present near the nets at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium were witness to a scene not normally associated with matches of such stature.
“We need some spinners here. Where are the net bowlers?” the liaison official attached with the visiting team screamed. He was angry because of the scarce number of net bowlers. It is common practice for these bowlers to be used by teams during practice sessions, and they are provided by the host association. The West Indies batsmen had requested the services of spinners.
Only a handful were present to serve them. When the liaison officer went vocal, there were two net bowlers present. Both were medium pacers. After a few tense moments, about five spinners turned up and bowled to Jason Holder & Co. In total, there were only about six bowlers available for the visitors for a sizeable part of their practice session. Only a few hours ago, India underwent their session without any hassle.
This seemed to have irked the official even more. “Indian players used the services of so many bowlers. Where are those bowlers now?” the official asked the men entrusted with the responsibility of providing net bowlers. To which, one of the men replied, “Sir, they (India) also used the same number of bowlers.” The official refused to relent. When Express approached that official, he said many bowlers had suddenly gone missing. Sources in the know confirmed that the number of bowlers had dropped on the second day of practice.
“There were around 14 bowlers yesterday. Today, many of them did not turn up due to various reasons,” sources said. Questioned further, they added, “Many boys were not allowed to enter because they did not have accreditation cards.” The other reason cited was even more shocking. “The person who was supposed to take care of the matter today has not been responding to phone calls,” sources said. The CEO of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, Panduranga Murthy — who works in tandem with a committee of administrators appointed by the Hyderabad High Court — could not be reached for comment.
“The club secretaries who have been handling these responsibilities for years were not contacted for the job. Unless they are formally given the responsibility, how are they supposed to execute the plans? So this was bound to happen,” an HCA official said. It can be noted that Indian teams touring abroad have often complained of not having enough net bowlers.