GCA Stadium presents unusual scenario

Written by: Suresh Parekh
Published: Monday, December 4, 2000, 20:00 [IST]
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Ahemdabad: It was not all-in-all too familiar a sight at the Motera stadium. At the outset, there were too many security personnel checking the IDs of all and sundry. The normally pleasant and friendly Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) officials too were not on hand.

The few officials that were present were also very tightlipped. Irrespective of the fact how familiar they were with the sports journalists, who had descended at the stadium to cover the match, they did not open up.

It appeared as if the officials were given special instructions not to give any information or hobnob freely with the sports journalists. All this seems to be in the light of the fact that this venue is under scrutiny for the last match that India played.

Board of Control for Cricket in India have asked Special Commissioner Madhavan to specifically probe the India versus New Zealand Test match that was played at this venue. India failed to enforce the follow on against New Zealand.

Board's official wanted to know why Mr Madhavan had not touched this Test in his report. The players are mingling fine with the media, but still the sports journalists found something amiss. The most notable absentee was Hiren Hathi, a local icon, who on previous occasions had free access to players and the dressing room.

It is reliably understood that the GCA have made it clear to officials that nobody should be allowed near the dressing rooms once the match starts. Hiren Hathi, in fact, was better known as a business partner of Kapil Dev and a friend of Ajay Jadeja. Hiren Hathi was also raided by the Income Tax Department in connection with the match-fixing scandal.

Nothing substantial was found from his residence or bank account, but his close relations with top players and the ringing mobile seem to be the reasons for his absence on the eve of the second One-day International. It is learnt that GCA strictly informed Hiren Hathi not to come on the ground. But, no official word was available on this.

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