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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Fans, scribes get the stick

Fans, scribes get the stick

March 31, 2006 13:53 IST

Just when you thought things couldn't get worse at the Nahar Singh stadium in Faridabad, they actually got out of hand.

Journalists had a nightmarish experience on Thursday as they waited for their media passes for the second one-day international between India and England. Not only was everything disorganized, but left in the hands of a few incompetent officials who had absolutely no knowledge of the procedure for accreditation.

On Friday, the scribes were in for a shock as there was no power in the press box and the Internet could not be accessed for an hour after the start of the match. To add to their woes, there was no one from the Haryana Cricket Association, which is hosting the match, to help.

"This one of the worst centres to host an international match," said a British journalist.

One of them even complained about the state of affairs to Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Niranjan Shah, who assured immediate help that never came.

It was only after BCCI's media committee member G S Walia arrived at the scene that some action was taken and electricity restored.

Outside the stadium things were even worse. Spectators had a harrowing time winding their way through a sea of baton-wielding security personnel, who swung left, right and center, causing grievous injuries to at least a dozen youngsters.

A badly-bruised boy, shirt soaked in blood, was refused help by a patrolling police van even as people begged to rush him to a nearby hospital.

Having witnessed the baton charge outside the stadium, it was then the scribes' turn to face the wrath of the policemen. Some were manhandled and forcibly pushed away as they made their way to the entrance of the main gate.

"We don't know any media pass or anything. We have closed the gate and nobody can come in. Get out from here, elseĀ….," said a senior police officer, threatening to use his baton.

Former India Test player Chetan Sharma, who is doing commentary for a television channel, was also not spared.

One wonders how an international match could be allotted to such a centre, where everything is so unprofessional.

We often get upset with English journalists when they whine about food, facilities and the filth in India. But after the ordeal at Faridabad one can understand their plight. Hope the BCCI takes note and ensures that the mismanagement of Faridabad is not repeated at other centres.

Harish Kotian in Faridabad