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Inzy bus takes hit in stride

Jamshedpur, April 7: Around the time militants targeted the Tourist Reception Centre in Srinagar yesterday, a miscreant targeted the bus carrying Inzamam-ul Haq's team just outside Ranchi airport.

Both the Indian and Pakistani teams arrived here by road, for the third one-dayer slated for Saturday, after a flight from Vizag to the Jharkhand capital.

Fortunately a single stone was hurled and, fortunately again, the shards didn't injure the 'target': Inzamam himself. Of course, it's not clear whether the missile struck the Pakistan captain's window by mistake or intent.

In keeping with the spirit of the tour, though, Pakistan hasn't made the incident an issue. They need to be complimented. 'We treated it as a stray incident.... There was a crowd of about 10,000 after we left the airport (for the three-hour drive) and somebody committed a bit of nuisance,' assistant manager Asad Mustafa told The Telegraph.

Inzamam, reprimanded by the ICC today for 'abuse of cricket equipment' after being run out in the Vizag one-dayer, said much the same thing: 'Kuch vaisi badi baat nahin thi.... Mujhe kuch chot bhi nahin lagi...'

Quite sensibly, the bus didn't stop despite the window being wrecked and the many anxious moments. As a precaution, however, the players were advised to keep the curtains drawn for the remainder of the journey.

That bit was conveyed to everybody in the Team India bus ' which, by the way, was in front of the visitors' ' as well.

To eliminate the possibility of something similar on the trip back to Ranchi (en route to Ahmedabad), on Sunday, the powers-that-be are 'considering' flying the teams over.

As a source put it: 'The fourth one-dayer will be in a sensitive city and, given all the controversy over that venue, one can ill afford any incident in the lead-up to the match there (on April 12)....'

The logistics, therefore, are being 'worked out'.

Incidentally, as a fallout of that stone (and the Srinagar-attack), security has been tightened. In fact, initially, the local SP was reluctant to allow the visitors to move out of their hotel as he hadn't received '24 hours notice' about intra-city travel plans.

That got resolved after Pakistan manager Saleem Altaf had a word with Jharkhand State Cricket Association chief Amitabh Choudhary.

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