The President of the Cricket Club of India (CCI) Sevanthi Parekh yesterday hit out at the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) for objecting to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to reconsider Brabourne Stadium for international matches at Sunday’s Annual General Meeting held in Chennai.
“If MCA wants monopoly to host matches in Mumbai, then that has gone. And their demand, that CCI should take MCA’s permission to host matches is not accepted. We are a separate body. We are a founder member of the BCCI. MCA was nowhere then. Wankhede came up only in 1975. We are here since 1940,” Parekh told MiD DAY which was the first newspaper to report on BCCI’s nod to CCI.
MCA in its managing committee meeting on Monday decided to write a letter to the Board President N Srinivasan voicing their displeasure. MCA reckon their commitments to sponsors and corporate box holders would be affected. The box holders have paid a very high, one-time amount to the MCA for all matches played in the city.
“We can’t stop anybody from writing a letter. But what is the use of it? That decision was taken unanimously (at the Board’s AGM). We are a separate body now. The Board has now given us eligibility (for international matches). Like MCA, even we will get it (matches). So, by (Board’s) rotation policy we will also stand a chance to host matches,” Parekh said.
Parekh countered MCA’s commercial argument: “Are we talking about cricket as a sport or as a commercial venture? Is commercial interest more important than what is right?
“This is an iconic ground. All over the world it is known as the Lord’s of India. All the top players have been groomed here. They all enjoy coming here. They say why are we not playing here? So, (it means) they (top players) are being debarred (to play at Brabourne) because of commercial interest.
This is completely wrong. We want Mumbaikars to enjoy their cricket. If Wankhede will sell a ticket for Rs 100, people would be willing to pay Rs 200 to watch a match at Brabourne. That’s the kind of interest levels here.
“The commercial factor is secondary. What’s important is the promotion of the game. Monopoly is a thing of past.” The CCI boss put a mythological twist to the episode. “Ram was given vanwas for 14 years, but we have been debarred for almost 40 years for a ground which is so well-known and well-maintained.
“We don’t want a tug-of-war situation with the MCA. We are not begging on their doors. We will also get a match now as you (MCA) get. Now, fortunately, the BCCI has recognised us,” he said.
Parekh, however, made it clear that there will be no change in their policy where entry into their Club House is concerned: “Our charter clearly states that CCI members will be given free entry into the Club House. But we have the BCCI, VIP President boxes. They (commercial partners) can invite them and they will be our honoured guests. But will not sell tickets for the Club House. That practice will continue.”
Brabourne in figures
The number of Test matches played at the ground.
The year in which Brabourne Stadium hosted its first ever Test match — India vs WI
The number of matches India ended up winning at CCI
Only two countries — West Indies and Australia have tasted Test wins at CCI
Virender Sehwag’s score in the 2009 Test vs Sri Lanka
B S Chandrasekhar’s figures against WI in the 1966 Test