Ranji Trophy champions Karnataka forced to hire autos; captain Vinay taken to football stadium!

Guwahati, Oct 5: Ranji Trophy champions Karnataka were made to hire auto rickshaws to reach the stadium to play against Assam on Sunday (October 4), the fourth and final day of their first round match. And in a comical twist, captain R Vinay Kumar and trainer Prashant Pujar were taken to football venue!

Tournament schedule and guide

Karnataka were playing Assam in the opening round of this season's Ranji Trophy. The game which started on October 1, ended in a draw yesterday not before early morning drama off the field. Assam secured 3 points for their first innings lead while Karnataka got only 1 point.

File photo: Karnataka team poses with the Ranji Trophy after winning the final earlier this year

Assam Cricket Association (ACA), the hosts of the match were to send a bus as it was on the previous 3 days to pick Karnataka players and support staff to reach the Barsapara Stadium. However, after 3 days of travelling by bus, the final day had a twist with the vehicle not arriving at the team hotel on time.

"We had asked for the bus to come at 7.00 AM for us to reach the ground at least an hour before the start so that we had enough time to do warm-ups," Karnataka team's logistics manager Ramesh Rao told Bengaluru-based "Deccan Herald" newspaper.

"We kept calling the local manager (for the Karnataka team) Nikhil Ranjan and he kept saying it's on the way. When the bus didn't turn up even after 7.30 AM, we decided to hire autos," he added.

The final day's play was scheduled to start 15 minutes early, at 8.30 AM. Karnataka had requested for the bus to be at the hotel at 6.45 AM for departure at 7 AM and the team was waiting well before that at the hotel lobby.

The distance between the hotel and the stadium was 6 kilometres. And when the bus did not arrive, Karnataka decided to hire 9 autos to reach the stadium.

As it is the case in many places, auto drivers demanded more than the actual fare and Karnataka had no choice but to pay. Added to this, the roads were in a bad shape and it was a bumpy ride for the champions.

And amidst all this drama and inconvenience, one of the autos carrying skipper Vinay and trainer Prashant went to football stadium, which hosts Indian Super League (ISL) matches. After realising it was not the destination, the driver later took the duo to the cricket venue.

The 15-member Karnataka team had four players - Robin Uthappa, Vinay, Manish Pandey and Abhimanyu Mithun, who have represented India at the international level.

ACA officials offered an apology to the Karnataka team for this mess. However, the Ranji Trophy champions made an oral complaint to the match referee and BCCI's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), according to "Deccan Herald".

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