India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today expressed his displeasure at the travel itinerary of his team during its trip to New Zealand which affected the players as many of them were drained due to change in time zone and odd hours of journey.
The Indian team had left Perth for Melbourne on March 7 and reached Auckland from Melbourne at midnight (New Zealand time). From Auckland, it was an hour and half’s bus journey to Hamilton.
Auckland to Hamilton is a 25-minute flight and no big airbuses operate on that route. The ones that operate are 10-seater small air planes which certainly wasn’t enough to carry a jumbo contingent of 33 (15 players and 18 support staff).
Perth is four and half hours behind Melbourne while Auckland is two and half hours ahead of Melbourne. The time difference does take a toll on the body when one is taking successive flights, which exactly happened with some of the members of the team.
When asked if he is now relieved knowing his quarterfinal opponents and the venue, Dhoni smiled and replied, "It’s not about the opposition you play as at the quarter-final stage, more or less all the opponents are of same standard. It could have been both advantage and disadvantage playing in New Zealand as our spinners would be ineffective on smaller grounds. But yes, hope to get a decent business class seats so that we are properly rested before our next game!"
Indian team will be flying on March 16 to Melbourne for their quarter-final against Bangladesh scheduled on March 19.
"Actually if you check our travel schedule when we were coming to New Zealand, it wasn’t a great one. As much as we have tried to manage, we couldn’t because of the time that we landed in New Zealand, we had bus journey (Auckland to Hamilton). Lot of people had problems in adjusting with the change of time and it affected their sleeping pattern," Dhoni said taking a dig at those who chalked out the travel schedule.