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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Indian cricketers inaugurate cricket academy

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and two of his teammates on Saturday took time off from their busy schedule to inaugurate a cricket academy in a remote town in Maharashtra.

Dhoni and his two pace bowling colleagues -- Zaheer Khan and RP Singh -- went to Bhandara in Maharashtra to inaugurate the academy, named after Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel's father.

The players left for Bhandara from Rajkot where they had thumped England by 158 runs in the first one-dayer on Friday.

But their presence at the academy came in for some media scrutiny, with a TV channel questioning whether it was prudent on their part to break away from the team and attend a private function, particularly when a series is on.

The BCCI, however, played down the incident saying that it was only a charity function and players had taken permission to attend it.

"There is nothing wrong to attend such a programme. It was for a charitable cause. They had taken prior permission," BCCI Finance Committee chairman Rajiv Shukla said.

"The academy was for rural children and it should not be blown out of proportion since there was no practice session on Saturday. They had taken the necessary permission from the BCCI to attend the function," he added.

The second one-dayer will be played in Indore on Monday.

The star cricketers also played with local players, watched by thousands of locals, who had gathered to have a glimpse of their heroes.

Immediately after the game, hundreds of spectators rushed on to the ground not only leading to chaotic scenes but also posing security hazard for the players.

Shukla however insisted, adequate security measures were in place for the visit of the players.

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