J&K misses practice due to endless travel

The cricketers will reach Jaipur - the venue of their season opener - only on the night before the match.

Jammu and Kashmir takes on Team Rajasthan on Friday.   -  Nissar Ahmad

At a time when even the junior teams travel by air, cricketers from Jammu and Kashmir had a long day on the road, that too on the eve of their Ranji Trophy season opener.

The side — which is to take on Team Rajasthan at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Friday — reached Delhi by air from Srinagar and the players travelled to the Rajasthan capital by road only in the evening. At the time of publishing this article, the cricketers were still some 150 kilometres away from Jaipur. Interestingly, Jammu and Kashmir is the only team which missed out on a practice session on the eve of this year’s tournament opener.

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“It gets a bit tiring because of the long travel. We will only reach Jaipur late in the night, and will have to take the field on Friday morning,” one of the players told Sportstar.

Despite informing the local organisers about its arrival on Wednesday, the team called off its training session on Thursday as it failed to reach. A couple of days ago, Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) secretary Iqbal Shah had told Sportstar that the team will reach Jaipur on Wednesday, but it didn’t turn out that way. Despite repeated attempts, he could not be reached for a comment.

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After refusing to sanction funds to office bearers, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been making all arrangements for the cricketers from the valley. But even then, as the country’s premier tournament gets underway, Jammu and Kashmir cricketers have no other options but to take the field without any practice session at the venue.

There is a bit of confusion regarding the team’s captain as well. While JKCA officials claimed Mithun Manhas will act only as the coach this season, it is learnt that things aren’t going that way. Manhas was initially asked to choose between captaincy and coaching, but it is learnt that he was not too happy with the fact that Rasool was given the captaincy. "I did not like the way he (Rasool) was handling things," Manhas said, alleging that Rasool 'was creating a divide in the team'.

After long hours on the road, it will be interesting to see what drama unfolds on the captaincy front when the players gather at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Friday morning.