Perth: The Indian cricket team management has gone to the extremes as far as keeping the Indian media contingent here at bay for the World Cup is concerned. As though the near-zero media interactions throughout the tournament, except for the mandatory pre and post-match press conferences, was not enough, yesterday the two-dozen odd media contingent were treated like a bunch of untouchables at the Murdoch University Oval during the team's training session.
The spontaneously erected four-sided barricade to restrict the Indian media during India's training session yesterday. Pic/Ashwin Ferro
The West Indies practice session was from 10am to 1pm and thereafter the Indian team's practice (2pm to 5pm) was scheduled. Now, the Murdoch University Oval is almost 20 kms away from the city, and a cab ride here costs nearly AUD 100 dollars (approx Rs 5000). The media visits training sessions for possible player interactions, to shoot player pictures and/or to observe the training drills.
All was fine as far as the WI practice session was concerned. However, around half an hour before the Indian team arrived at the venue, its local security liaison officer Daniel Wilshaw issued strange instructions to the venue's security staff.
He first ordered that the media be removed from the designated media centre and that larger room be handed over to the Indian players. And then, in a bid to shun the Indian media, a temporary barricade, enclosed from four sides, was spontaneously erected and the media ordered to remain inside it.
It didn't matter that this new 'arrangement' was at distance from both, the nets as well as the Oval, restricted the scribes' view. "We had made plans for the media and created a media room too, but the Indian team have taken over that room," said venue in-charge Mark Ausrich, a representative of Murdoch University.
Security manager of the World Cup's Local Organising Committee Kevin Looby also said he was helpless. "We cannot do much about this at the moment. The Indian team management wanted it this way," said Looby.
So, from 12pm to 2pm the Indian media were forced to sit out under the unforgiving Perth sun without any room to work in as the West Indies team were yet to vacate their room (which would go to the media) and the Indian team's security staff took over the original media room early to set up the team's lunch.
Only when a journalist complained to media manager Dr RN Baba did things change. The media room was promptly vacated by the Indian team, and the media was let out of the barricades.