New Delhi: With Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test set to be played in India — against the West Indies — top associations across the country have been vying for an opportunity to host the milestone match.
And while Rajeev Shukla — even before his appointment as chairman of the tour programme and fixtures committee on September 29 — had announced that Kolkata and Mumbai were the two cities that were in with a chance to host the match, the Cricket Association of Bengal is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that Eden Gardens hosts the match.
Speaking to Mail Today, a senior CAB official said that one of his colleagues spoke to BCCI president N Srinivasan on the sidelines of the annual general meeting and tried to convince him about granting the landmark Test to Eden Gardens.
“There was a discussion on the sidelines of the AGM and an effort was made to convince Srinivasan that Eden is best suited to hold the match, which shall be the first occasion when a cricketer has played 200 Test matches. There is no doubt that we have the highest capacity and the love that Kolkata’s people have for Test cricket is unmatched. It would only be apt if we get to host the match,” the official said.
Initially it was a battle between Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and the CAB, but things heated up when the BCCI decided that the Brabourne Stadium will once again host international matches.
It is believed that with Sharad Pawar — the political bigwig who is anti-Srinivasan — keen to become MCA president once again, Srinivasan played this masterstroke so that Tendulkar’s 200th, even if it is played in Mumbai, isn’t hosted at the Wankhede Stadium.
While the on-going spat between MCA and the Cricket Club of India (CCI) over hosting international matches has turned ugly, with CCI president Sevanthi Parekh saying that MCA’s days of monopoly are over, it has definitely strengthened Eden’s position.
“The tussle is definitely an unwanted one, but we are really keen to host Tendulkar’s 200th match and hoping for the best,” he said.
Meanwhile, the tour programme and fixtures committee has postponed the meeting to decide the venues for the West Indies series by a week. But a BCCI official — part of the committee — said that no circular had come in from the BCCI informing the members that there would be a meeting to decide the venues on Thursday.