Cricket scribes thrown out of Ranji tie

Published: Thursday, November 18, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:In an unusual spectacle, an Elite Ranji Trophy match was played without any spectator yesterday and today even the media was thrown out with the help of police for reporting that.

The Elite Group A match between Andhra and Delhi at the Roshanara Ground was marred by ugly scenes when journalists were shoved away from the venue by cops called by ground authorities who were irked by reports in the media criticising the club's policy of not allowing spectators for the match.

The authorities demanded an "unconditional apology" from the journalists for what they claimed was "misreporting".

The journalists were first barred from entering the ground this morning and then Club Secretary Deputy Chatwani told them that they would have to produce a "written andunconditional apology" to the club if they wanted to enter the ground.

As the journalists stood at the gate, trying to work the situation out with Delhi District and Cricket Association officials, they were shocked to see police being called in to "throw them out".

With access to the venue denied to the media, the journalists decided not to report the match. The match also witnessed some unsavoury incidents yesterday when Chatwani and his accomplice manhandled a photographer of Hindustan Times, claiming that the DDCAvice-president Chetan Chauhan had told them not to allow in any cameraperson other than that of Doordarshan.

Chauhan later clarified that the order was meant only for TV cameras and not for still photographers.

At a time when BCCI claims to be working hard to popularise domestic cricket the move of the DDCA authorites to hold a match at a venue, where spectators are not allowed, hasbeen criticised from all quarters.

It is learnt that the ground authorities had already told the DDCA that it was a private club ground and spectators would not be allowed inside.

HT Sports Editor Pradeep Magazine was very critical of the DDCA decision to hold a match at the Roshanara despite being aware of the club policy of not allowing spectators in.

"On one hand BCCI wants to popularise domestic cricket and on the other DDCA is holding a match at a venue where no one can watch it," he said.

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