Indians greeted by rain on arrival in New Zealand

Christchurch: A strenuous journey, prolonged by transit layovers at Hong Kong and Auckland, was followed by baggage-collecting hassles and rain as the Indian team arrived for the cricket series against New Zealand starting on February 25.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men struggled to collect their suitcases and cricket kits at the Auckland airport after enduring a 10-hour flight from Hong Kong.

They waited for another three hours at Auckland before boarding a flight for here, making it a bone-weary 27-hour trip from Mumbai.

Missing a luggage-handler, the players were left to carry their suitcases themselves.

“I know the players’ problem. It needs to be addressed. Hosts countries have often said that they can’t appoint such people because of security problems. But I will write to them and convince them to do something about this,” said team administrative manager Niranjan Shah, a former BCCI secretary.

“Why should there be discrimination? When foreign teams come to India, we have people carrying their luggage. But when we travel, we have to do it ourselves,” fumed a senior player.

“If this continues to happen, they should get us accustomed to carry our luggage in Indian cities as well,” he added.

Recalling his bitter experience during a 1996 tour of Holland, where the team had gone to promote cricket, the player said, “We had gone there to promote the game. But there was nobody to receive us at the airport. We had to arrange for transport. Getting the baggage into the bus was a Herculean task.”

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