ACT XI awaits Indians’ arrival in Canberra

Special Correspondent

Canberra: The outfield had been shorn, the boundary boards laid over the surrounding white picket fence, the nets cleared: the Manuka Oval was awaiting the touring Indians on a hot, dry Tuesday afternoon; they never came.

About the time a group of eager-faced cricketers from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) side was limbering up here at the Oval, the Indian side had adjourned to Bondi beach, having spent much of the previous 24 hours in their Sydney hotel rooms.

The closest they have come to leaving the coastal city for Canberra was when they boarded a coach on Monday only to return to their digs two hours later.

Preparations on

ACT Cricket’s preparations here meanwhile are proceeding on schedule, although the uncertainty is palpable.

There is some confusion surrounding the duration of the game. Originally a three-day affair, it was subsequently chopped by a day, and rescinded later.

Curator Marcus Pamplin therefore is taking no chances. He has made what he believes is a wicket that will last four days.

The practice match is scheduled from Thursday — the organisers are optimistic the Indian team will turn up before that.

Rare chance

The ACT XI competes against the second elevens from the other States in the second division of the Australian domestic league for the Cricket Australia Cup.

The fixture offers its cricketers a rare chance against quality opposition (as a local paper put it: a shot for the Comets, as they are known, at the Stars); they will hope it gets underway.