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Cricket's top bosses meet in ICC conclave

March 15, 2003 21:13 IST

In a bid to sort out the differences between them, top administrators of world cricket will get together at Robben Island on Monday hoping to join hands for the development of the game.

The trip to Robben Island, a masterstroke on the part of 2003 World Cup organising committee's chief Ali Bacher, will see the antagonists like Board of Control for Cricket in India chief Jagmohan Dalmiya and the International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed and president Malcolm Gray, among others, get together in a congenial atmosphere rather than face each other across boardrooms.

"Over 100 chief executives and presidents of the various cricket boards and associate countries will get together in an informal manner and we can't escape the conclusion there is an attempt to improve personal rapport," said Bacher whose vision and initiative was chiefly responsible for South Africa's admittance into world cricket community after years of isolation due to its apartheid policies.

"The choice of Robben Island symbolises a spirit of reconciliation and a message of forgiveness," said Bacher from Cape Town where he is busy welcoming the various cricket dignitaries.

Along with cricket officials, cricket legends Sir Garfield Sobers and Everton Weekes will also make the trip and visit the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.

"The place has a tremendous history and past needs to be remembered -- hopefully, the visit will provide great moral lessons for all of us," said Bacher.

He played down his role in this get-together and said as organising committee of the World Cup, they were obliged to welcome the cricket officials from world over.

"This event is just not about South Africa. This is world event where everyone is taking part and as organizing committee, it's our job to welcome everyone anyway."

The sign of disquiet among cricket officialdom was evident in this World Cup too when the BCCI made an official request to have the timings of the second semi-final shifted from day-night to a day game.

As was expected, the request was rejected by the organising committee.

Meanwhile, the Indian cricket team management is getting ready to welcome Dalmiya and host of other celebrities who are descending here in preparation for the side's semi-final against Kenya on Thursday. "Dalmiya should be here on Tuesday," said manager

Jyoti Bajpai. "But he wouldn't be staying with the team as the organisers have made arrangements for cricket officials in different hotels."

The Indian team arrived in this coastal city to a tumultuous welcome by hundreds of wildly cheering fans at the entrance of their hotel Saturday afternoon.

Sourav Ganguly and his men were greeted at the entrance by hordes of locals dressed in ethnic clothing and sang folk songs in appreciation of the cricketers.

The team recorded a seven wicket win over New Zealand at Centurion Park Friday to make a clean sweep of their Super Six engagements.

It stretched their winning streak to seven matches in a row after a crushing defeat against Australia in a group A league game at Centurion Park last month.

As is the practice with the team on the day after a World Cup game, there was no nets for the cricketers Saturday.

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