New Zealand women taken on Bharat Darshan by BCCI!

The team left Chandigarh at six in the morning on Saturday and reached Nagpur 12 hours later — after halts in New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai!

“It’s never ideal having a tour of India a day before a big game, but we have to use that as motivation to step on the big day,” quipped Suzie Bates, the New Zealand skipper.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Neither the charming New Zealand captain Suzie Bates nor the former World Cup winning captain and present coach of the White Ferns team, Haidee Maree Tiffin, called the 12-hour air travel from Chandigarh to Nagpur on Saturday a nightmarish experience. In fact the 28-year-old Suzie was far from being bellicose while describing the travel that started within a few hours after her team had made short work of Ireland at Mohali on Friday night. The team left Chandigarh at six in the morning on Saturday and reached Nagpur 12 hours later — after halts in New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai!

But it wasn’t difficult to detect Suzie’s sarcasm when she said: “It’s never ideal having a tour of India a day before a big game, but we have to use that as motivation to step on the big day.” Regarded on a par with Australia’s Meg Lanning as the top batswoman of the game, Suzie, who is the second-highest run-getter in this format, said: “If you had asked me that yesterday (about the air travel ordeal and being bushed), you probably wouldn’t have got the same response. But yes, it is a pretty tough turnaround. We knew yesterday would be a pretty tough day, but the way the girls dealt with it, acknowledging that we had to do business amidst the nature of our schedule, was fantastic.”

The 38-year-old Haidee, who has played 117 ODIs for her country, tried hard to suppress her anger. She virtually pulled the mike and said: “I am proud of the way the team carried itself. It was tough. We left the hotel at six in the morning and reached at six in the evening, with four flights. I don’t know if that was the most efficient or the most economical way that we could have gotten here. I want to acknowledge the fact that I’m proud of the girls, but I want to question the logistics, if that was the most effective way. In saying that, I have said to the girls right from the start that attitude is a choice and the way the whole team carried itself yesterday, was challenging but I want to acknowledge (the support) of our medical staff to keep them in the best condition that they can be.”

The New Zealand team was in no position to come to the Civil Lines ground for morning practice on Sunday. The players chose to train from 2:45 p. m. in sweltering heat. Haidee gave vent to her feelings further: “We have been just here for less than 24 hours. It’s not ideal, let’s just say that. Any team would say that, not ideal leading into this match, but that’s the reality of it. The girls were outstanding. Everyone has been working hard for the recovery. As Suzie said, we’re taking it in our stride, we have to be vigilant around our recovery which we always are. But we’re going in as best prepared as we can be.”

Consolidation

New Zealand is leading the table with wins against Sri Lanka and Ireland, and is looking to play at its best against trans-Tasman rival Australia. “Yes, we want more game time, but we’re ready for tomorrow. The girls are professionals, hitting an extra ball isn’t necessarily going to make them better cricketers, it’s just about having that belief and visualising success, which our team is doing well. We’re under no illusions, we’re up against the world champion, we have to play at our best to do well against this team,” concluded Haidee.

Someone in the BCCI has to answer for this travel mess...and apologise to the White Ferns.