Masseur gets marching orders

COLOMBO, AUG. 1. His name was not on the tour party list. But he was, nevertheless, with the Indian cricket team all through the Asia Cup. Well, almost throughout, until the BCCI Secretary, S.K. Nair, gave him a dressing down at the Taj Samudra lobby on Saturday when the team returned after evening practice.

The man scooted immediately.

He is Sohail, a masseur, whom the Indian team befriended on the tour of Pakistan early this year. Fondly called Pappe by the Indian cricketers, he is very popular with the team for his "magical hands". In fact, he figures prominently in the pictures of the Indian team taken immediately after the Test series victory in Pakistan.

"To begin with, I was put off by the fact that he was wearing India colours," said Mr. Nair, who had arrived here the previous night for Sunday's Asian Cricket Council meeting. "I honestly didn't know he was here. He had no business staying and travelling with the Indian team or wearing team colours. The team's administrative manager (M.N. Dorairajan from Vidarbha CA) should have sent him away.

"The tour party comprises 14 players, the coach, administrative manager, physio, trainer and the computer analyst. No one else," said Mr. Nair.

It is indeed surprising how someone can be part of a National team's entourage without the board being aware, or informed, about it, especially at a time when the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit sends its representatives for every international event. — Sanjay Rajan

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