MCA objects to matches being directly allotted to CCI

Mumbai: The long-standing tussle between the Mumbai Cricket Association and the Cricket Club of India, both affiliated units of the BCCI, came to the fore at last Sunday`s AGM of the Board following a suggestion to allot international matches directly to CCI.

"There was a suggestion from the chair (BCCI chief N Srinivasan) that CCI should be allotted international games to which I, as MCA president, objected," said MCA president Ravi Savant, who attended the meeting.

"Our contention is that we are not against CCI getting international games but they should be routed through us only as they are under our jurisdiction. Besides, there are several issues like allotment of seats to our members and protecting MCA and BCCI`s sponsors` interests in such an eventuality," added the newly-appointed west zone vice-president of the BCCI.

"No resolution (to allot matches to CCI) was passed. It was only a suggestion from the chair. I have already written to the Board (yesterday) and requested for more time to give our detailed objections. We have spent Rs 300 crore on the refurbishment of the Wankhede Stadium and conduct all cricket activities in our jurisdiction which includes CCI which is a private club," clarified Savant.

The issue has assumed significance as MCA has already written to the BCCI requesting the Board to allot to them, what could be Sachin Tendulkar`s 200th Test during next month`s home series against the West Indies.

The senior India cricketer needs to turn out in two more Tests to reach the landmark and the series next month gives the Mumbai great, the ideal chance to attain it at home.

Apart from the MCA, the Cricket Association of Bengal also wants to host Tendulkar`s milestone match and the BCCI`s Programmes and Fixtures Committee, headed by Rajeev Shukla, will meet soon to chalk out the itinerary of the tour comprising two Tests and three ODIs.

CCI and MCA have been at loggerheads for a long time when Test cricket used to be played at the former`s Brabourne Stadium, a stone`s throw away from Wankhede which was built in 1975.

Matters came to a head when CCI was headed by Vijay Merchant and S K Wankhede was at the helm of MCA affairs over seat sharing arrangement between the two entities during Test matches.

CCI shot down MCA`s demand for extra seats and Wankhede, who was a minister in the then Maharashtra state government, took it as a challenge and built the eponymous stadium in a record six months, in time for it to host the fifth and final Test of the 1974-75 home series against the West Indies.

Big time cricket moved away to Wankhede from that stage though CCI`s Brabourne hosted some international matches when MCA`s own stadium was undergoing renovation ahead of the 2011 World Cup hosted by India.