The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Windies reserve the right to do a Rajkot

Calcutta: The West Indies have reserved the right to do a Rajkot should the “circumstances” so warrant.

The visiting cricketers, it may be recalled, refused to continue with the third ODI (Tuesday) after Vasbert Drakes became the target of a sand-filled bottle. Earlier, Pedro Collins and Ryan Hinds were hit.

With the West Indies declining to take the field again, the Duckworth/Lewis Method was enforced and India won by 81 runs.

“We will make every effort to ensure the (four) remaining ODIs are completed. However, if the circumstances are such that our players’ safety is at risk, we won’t hesitate to walk off,” informed the thoroughly business-like manager, Ricky Skerritt.

[Incidentally, West Indies Cricket Board chief Rev. Wesley Hall’s statement, issued late Tuesday, reads: “The safety of the players is uppermost in my mind… I’m satisfied with the ICC’s position that Match Referee Mike Procter will convene a meeting with the BCCI and Skerritt on the way forward. I think that will help alleviate the problems.”]

Speaking to The Telegraph Wednesday afternoon, before both teams left Mumbai for Ahmedabad, Skerritt added: “Essentially, our response will be guided wholly by what occurs on the field. In other words, we will take it match-by-match, situation-by-situation…”

While ODI No.4 is in Ahmedabad Friday, the subsequent ones will be in Vadodara (November 18), Jodhpur (November 21) and Vijayawada (November 24).

The visitors have a 2-1 lead.

Meanwhile, the meeting Rev. Hall has talked about will actually be with the Gujarat Cricket Association brass (representing the BCCI) and Skerritt.

According to BCCI secretary S.K. Nair, that is slated for Thursday morning in Ahmedabad. Procter will also be interacting with the local administration’s top guns.

“I will myself be reaching Ahmedabad that very evening and, should the Match Referee still have something to discuss, I’ll be available,” pointed out Nair, when contacted on his cellphone Wednesday evening.

While it’s not confirmed exactly how many CCTV cameras will be installed at the Gujarat Stadium, “every single spectator” will have to pass through a metal detector.

Other security measures, too, are being put in place. There were, after all, many unpleasant incidents during the India versus West Indies Wills World Series game there in 1994.

In any case, nobody has quite forgotten Imran Khan asking the Ijaz Faqihs to wear a helmet, when posted in the deep, during that 1987 Test at the very same Gujarat Stadium.

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