By Derek Abraham
Mumbai: Oct 4, 2013
As the war between N Srinivasan and Sharad Pawar hots up, Wankhede Stadium looks set to be the first casualty. The cricketing fraternity in the city is abuzz with talk that even if Mumbai gets to host Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test, it will be played at Brabourne Stadium, and not at the Wankhede.
Sources said BCCI president Srinivasan is aware that Pawar is unlikely to face opposition in his bid to become Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) president when elections take place on October 18. Srinivasan plans to snub the Union agriculture minister by awarding Tendulkar’s landmark match to the Cricket Club of India (CCI), which owns the Brabourne Stadium. Sources told dna that Srinivasan is basically trying to tell the MCA, ‘back Pawar at your own peril’.
The West Indies will arrive in India next month for a two-Test series, the second of which will be Tendulkar’s 200th Test, and possibly his last. So far, Wankhede Stadium was tipped to stage the match.
Srinivasan, who is yet to “take charge” as BCCI president (he is awaiting a Supreme Court directive), deputed BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel to conduct an informal inspection of the iconic venue at Churchgate, the source said. On Thursday, Patel convened the board’s marketing committee meeting before visiting the club where he was taken around by Sanju Kothari, the club’s cricket committee chairman.
“Kothari also attended the marketing committee meeting at the Cricket Centre (BCCI headquarters at Churchgate) after which he brought Patel to the club. Patel inspected the dressing rooms and the balcony on the first floor where the match officials are seated.
This is a clear signal that the BCCI plans to award the Test to the CCI,” a source said.
Kothari confirmed that Patel visited the club. “I just wanted to show him [Patel] around. There is no talk of the CCI getting to host the Test. This is mere speculation,” he told dna.
Srinivasan has been at loggerheads with Pawar for many years.
Things got worse when Pawar slammed the Tamil Nadu strongman for bringing the board into disrepute with his ineffective handling of the IPL spot-fixing scandal.
At the BCCI meeting last Sunday, MCA president Ravi Savant objected to a resolution which would bring back international cricket at the Brabourne Stadium.
Inspecting the venue
N Srinivasan knows Sharad Pawar is likely to win the MCA polls.
The Tamil Nadu strongman wants to spoil his party by awarding Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test to Brabourne Stadium instead of Wankhede. BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel inspected the venue on Thursday.
(The writer is Principal Correspondent at DNA, where the above article first appeared)