By Derek Abraham
Oct: 25, 2013
About three weeks ago, a top Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) official requested the management of Hotel Rivoli, Rohtak, to block all their 16 rooms. The budget hotel did as it was told.
A couple of days ago, the hotel employees learnt that they would be hosting the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team. No wonder they have gone into overdrive mode.
“This is really big for us. Rohtak is a sleepy little town about 75 km from Delhi. It’s a village, actually. We know the Mumbai team is going to be staying here. But we still don’t know if Sachin Tendulkar will be put up here,” said Gurkamal Sodhi, the hotel’s general manager.
For the record, the Mumbai team will land in the Capital around noon. Rohtak is just two hours away. The hotel, which has 16 rooms (including four deluxe suites), will do all it can to make the team’s stay pleasant and memorable, the management said.
The Mumbai team, which will take on Haryana at the Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium in Lahli (about 10 km away) from October 27-30, also has stars like Zaheer Khan, Wasim Jaffer, Ajinkya Rahane, Dhaval Kulkarni and Abhishek Nayar. But everyone’s bothered about Tendulkar. After all, the match could be the maestro’s last in domestic cricket. Last in Lahli for sure.
“Yahaan toh jashn ka mahaul hai (everyone’s in celebratory mode here),” Sodhi added. “We plan to welcome the Mumbai team in a grand way. The chefs are preparing a special menu. We know Tendulkar loves seafood, so we have made arrangements to get fish and prawns from New Delhi. We really hope he dines here. I heard is that the players will have their breakfast and lunch at the stadium itself,” Sodhi said.
The tour party from Mumbai will comprise 21 persons (15 players and six support staff). “Only the international players, coach and manager will have a room to themselves. The rest will have to share,” a team source said. Tendulkar, its is believed, will be put up in a suite. “We charge Rs 3,600 plus taxes. That’s our best room,” Sodhi informed.
(The writer is Principal Correspondent at DNA, where the above article first appeared)