Dhaka, Oct-Nov 1998

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The journey...

CricInfo multimedia manager Rohan Chandran gives us his daily view of the Wills International Cup. In his journey to Bangladesh, he followed the unorthodox San Francisco - London - Dubai - Dhaka route. A strange co-incidence meant that he was on the same London to Dubai flight that the England test team took en route to Australia...

If the shoe fits, wear it. Unfortunately for Dean Headley, it didn't. The Kent fast bowler was spotted treading barefoot across the tarmac at Dubai International Airport in thirty degree heat, his shoes protruding from his shoulder bag. No surprise then, that he was struggling to keep up with his team mates.

If the sight of a shoeless Headley was one to behold, then the sight of a shirtless Alan Mullally on board the aircraft ought to have been preserved for posterity. Anything Fabrizio Ravanelli could do down on the Riverside, Mullally can do better, it seems.

While Mullally was outstripping footballers, it was left to Mark Ramprakash to out-steward the stewardesses. Not content with relaxing in the comforts of his business class seat, he took it upon himself to take position at the doorway, alongside a couple of rather attractive stewardesses, and assist in welcoming the passengers on board.

An uneventful seven hour flight later, the England Ashes squad had completed the first leg of their journey down under. The ever bubbly Darren Gough apparently considered this an achievement worthy of applause. Graham Thorpe certainly wasn't interested, he was peering out of the window... from a middle seat!

While they may have got the good seats on the plane, the English team may never in their lives receive the incredible VIP treatment this reporter experienced on arrival in Dhaka.

Yet another hartal (general strike) had brought the city to a complete standstill, with traffic not permitted on the streets until after 2pm. Having arrived at 8am, after 28 hours of continuous travel from San Francisco, waiting for 6 hours in a VIP lounge was not a very attractive option. Fortunately, salvation soon arrived, in the form of the Army. Just minutes later, I was safely ensconced in a luxury sedan, an Army jeep with a dozen armed soldiers in front, and followed by a van with my luggage, and another truckload of armed soldiers. If there's a better way to travel, I'd love to see it.

Well, the fun and games really start tomorrow, when we get to the stadium and get down to business.

Rohan Chandran is CricInfo's Multimedia Manager and is on site in Dhaka with four other CricInfo management for the duration of the tournament

Date-stamped : 23 Oct2002 - 19:06