The stakes on the second Test against the West Indies, likely to be Sachin Tendulkar's 200th, are so high that it has led to a battle amongst state associations to win hosting rights for the landmark game.
In the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) working committee meeting on Sunday, it was decided to invite the West Indies for a series in November.
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The series will be played between Australia's one-day tour of India in October and India's tour of South Africa, which was due to begin on November 18, but is now in jeopardy. On Tuesday, the West Indies Cricket Board approved a two-Test and three-ODI tour.
According to the BCCI's rotation policy for Test venues, Bangalore and Ahmedabad are in queue to host the next two Tests. While Bangalore should host the first Test, interest surrounds the second Test.
WEST INDIES TO TOUR INDIA IN OCTOBER
The West Indies cricket team will tour India in October-November to play two Tests and three One-Day Internationals. The tour will start on October 31 and end on November 27. It will also include a three-day warm-up game,
"The dates and venues of the matches will be announced shortly," Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Sanjay Patel said.
KEEN ON HOSTING
Mumbai and Kolkata, third and fourth in line according to the rotation policy, are both keen on hosting the game ahead of Ahmedabad, while the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) is not ready to forego its right to stage the big game.
After all, a player is slated to play the 200th Test for the first time in the history of Test cricket. That the player is Tendulkar, sitting on 198 Tests at present, has only increased the hype.
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The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) was the first to throw its hat in the ring. It claimed that every city has the right to play home to Tendulkar's grand achievement.
"The Master Blaster belongs to the whole country. I think Eden Gardens is the most apt venue to host the historic match with the biggest capacity," Biswarup Dey, treasurer CAB, told HT.
Dismissing CAB's claims, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) appeared confident that if the rotational policy had to be broken, the second Test had to come to the Wankhede — Tendulkar's home.
"If the rotation policy is not followed, then we will request the BCCI to grant us the Test. After all, Wankhede is Tendulkar's home and that is where he should play his 200th Test," Ravi Savant, MCA president and BCCI treasurer, asserted.
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"While the final decision will lie with the BCCI's tours and fixtures committee, we will write to the BCCI to stick by the rotation policy. According to which, we should host the second Test. So how can Kolkata and Mumbai demand it," said Rajesh Patel, GCA secretary.
On inquiring if the Board had anything in mind, BCCI interim president and CAB president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, said, "The Board is yet to finalise the venue. It's irrelevant to speak on the choice of venue at this moment. Let us first come to a conclusion."