Practice ties at Wankhede after green signal from ICC: Rajput
Mumbai: Mumbai Cricket Association is awaiting a go-ahead from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to conduct practice matches at the refurbished Wankhede Stadium, which is to host three World Cup ties, including the final on April 2.
"We are waiting for ICC`s pitch consultant Andy Atkinson, who is here, to give us the go-ahead for conducting a few practice matches at the Wankhede Stadium," MCA`s joint secretary Lalchand Rajput said.
Though Rajput did not confirm, other sources said the matches would be held only after February 20.
Rajput also said the MCA has already written to the municipal authorities, public works department and the fire brigade for clearance and was awaiting the replies.
Wankhede Stadium`s refurbishment started in mid 2008.
Meanwhile, MCA has decided to keep aside the same number of tickets to be sold to the public during the World Cup as has been the practice for international matches in the past, though the capacity of the stadium has been considerably reduced.
"The capacity of the Wankhede Stadium, after its renovation and installation of bucket seats, has come down from around 38,000-40,000 to 31,000. But we have not reduced the number of tickets to be sold to the public which would be the same as before - 4,500," said the cricketer-turned administrator.
Rajput explained that MCA, as per its rules, will have to part away with tickets to its affiliated clubs and gymkhanas as well as to the Garware Club House which had been part of it since the stadium was built in 1974.
"We have to provide tickets to the 350 clubs and gymkhanas affiliated to us, as well as to the Garware Club, but we have proportionately reduced the number of tickets to them as the capacity of the stadium has been reduced," said the former India and Mumbai opening batsman.
"We have also told the clubs and gymkhanas that they will have to buy tickets for all three matches being hosted by us (two league matches in March and final on April 2) or they would not get any ticket," he said.
New Zealand would take on Canada on March 13 which will be followed by the second World Cup league fixture at the Wankhede between the Kiwis and Sri Lanka on March 18 and the summit clash.
For clubs and gymkhanas affiliated to MCA, the number of tickets they could buy would come down to 17 or 18 from the earlier 27 and there would be reduced number of tickets on offer to Garware club too from the earlier figure of 6,000 seats.
Asked whether the clubs agreed to this, Rajput said, "They have to. There is no other choice because the capacity of the stadium has been reduced. We also have to give away 8000 tickets to the ICC," he said.
The cheapest ticket for the league ties (in the east stand) would cost around Rs 250, while the north stand tickets would cost Rs 500 and the gymkhana stand tickets would be priced at Rs 1000," said Rajput, adding that the marquee tickets for a seat in the hospitality boxes would cost a whopping Rs 37,500 each.
"There would be 2000 marquee tickets on sale and the cost of the tickets includes Rs 500 as entertainment tax," he said.