SPORT

One-Day International series called off

BLANKET SECURITY: Indian security personnel stand guard outside the Mayfair Hotel where the cricket teams of England and India are staying in Bhubaneswar.

BLANKET SECURITY: Indian security personnel stand guard outside the Mayfair Hotel where the cricket teams of England and India are staying in Bhubaneswar.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: AP

K.C. Vijaya Kumar

England team stays put in Bhubaneshwar



BCCI accepts ECB’s request

Remaining two matches cancelled



Cuttack: Cricket lost its way in the crossfire as the terror strikes in Mumbai on Wednesday night found a sombre echo in distant Bhubaneshwar.

The seven-match ODI series between India and England ground to a premature halt at the Orissa capital following discussions between the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the England and Wales Cricket Board officials at the team hotel Mayfair on Thursday afternoon.

The authorities cancelled the remaining two matches at Guwahati (November 29) and Delhi (December 2) with India having won the series, 5-0.

“The BCCI has accepted the request of the ECB to cut short the one-day series in light of the disturbing events in Mumbai,” stated a press release issued by BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan, who participated in the parleys with the ECB managing director Hugh Morris.

To ensure safety

“We will take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of the team,” said Morris.

The news of the attacks in Mumbai filtered in after Wednesday night’s post-match press conference at Cuttack where the Indians registered a six-wicket victory.

Ironically a scribe asked Harbhajan, “do you and the other seniors have reservations over touring Pakistan?” Harbhajan offered the ‘focusing-on-this-series’ line. Minutes later, the bitter terror-truth had struck closer home.

Uncertainty

Thursday morning began with a touch of uncertainty as the England team spokesperson Andrew Walpole declined to comment but added that the team was awaiting official word from back home.

Meanwhile, officials connected with the remaining two matches were asked to put their travel plans on hold and the selection meeting for the Indian squad for the remaining two ODIs was cancelled.

The teams’ chartered flight to Guwahati was also cancelled. The England players were desperate to get back home and stayed holed up in their rooms while the Indian team prepared to disband.

“The ODI series is called off. Everyone is going back,” said a member of the team management.

However hope lingered as the ECB in a press release mentioned that the last two ODIs would be postponed.

Refund to be made

Later the two boards clarified that the series was over and at Guwahati, the Assam Cricket Association secretary Bikash Barua said, “I got a call from Mr. Srinivasan at 2.45 p.m. confirming the cancellation. We have sold about 9,000 tickets here out of a total of 16,650 and the fans will be refunded.”

The England team stayed on at Bhubaneshwar mulling over the ideal exit-point on Friday.

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