It’s pitch dark, with stray dogs barking and garbage littered around the Gymkhana Ground, where Sri Lanka will hold its first training session in the city on Monday morning, followed by Pakistan in the afternoon.
An ICC World Cup venue that should have been decked up is marred with chaos and confusion as the makeshift toilet trucks arrive in two batches. With no security perimeter and just two security personnel guarding the arena, the practice venue doesn’t seem to be equipped as per international standards.
The entrance of the first practice nets, where both international teams are scheduled to undergo their drills, has the prints of tyres rolling over them.
After 30 minutes of constant yelling and calling, the main gate doesn’t open. Instead, the mini-trucks are let through with a handful of workers lifting the green nets and entering the practice ground to unload the toilets. Such is the chaos that the security guard himself has no idea where to station the makeshift toilets. All this just 12 hours before the Sri Lanka team hits the ground running.
“We don’t know anything and we are just following the orders.. Ab wo bolen hain ki kiso ko kuch mat batana (They told us not to tell anything to anyone).. These toilets are good and have been used by ministers and VVIPs including KCR... Apna dhanda chalane ka hai aur hum wohi kar rahen hain.. (We need to run our business and we are doing exactly that,” an assistant said.
What irked the transportation staff was that there were no lights and a delay in deciding where to unload the makeshift toilets.
The mini-truck lights were the only saviour as the wheels finally rolled into the ground, with the workers standing on top of the vehicle to lift the net to let the trucks navigate into the practice area.
“At least they should have put some lights and there is absolutely no communication. We explained to the security guard but even he has got no clue. Ab wo bhi kya karega (Even what he can do),” the manager of the truck unit said.
Hosting back-to-back matches is always challenging, that too when it comes to a World Cup where international teams crisscross the length and breadth of the country. While New Zealand will be taking on the Netherlands at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Monday, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be practising at the Gymkhana ground before their clash on Tuesday.
However, the HCA was aware that it would be hosting the back-to-back matches but couldn’t avoid the last-minute hustle.
No visiting team would prefer a make-shift toilet but both Sri Lanka and Pakistan will have to put up with an arrangement of just four toilets in their practice arena at the Gymkhana ground.
“The HCA had enough time and they should have acted in a swift way. This is not the way teams would like but we can’t do much now. This aspect should have been taken care of beforehand,” a source said.
The vicinity in and around the Gymkhana ground will be flooded with fans and onlookers, and it will be a challenge for the host association to maintain its promise of announced plans.
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