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'DY Patil switch took just five minutes'

It took just five minutes to shift England’s second warm-up match (November 3-5) from the Bandra Kurla Complex Ground to the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul yesterday. The selection of the venue turned into a contentious issue over the last week after Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA) request to shift the match to Navi Mumbai due to security issues, was not accepted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials.


Police officials inspect the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul on the eve of the opening IPL 2010 encounter between the Deccan Chargers and Kolkata Knight Riders

Ultimately, MCA president Ravi Savant took it upon himself to meet up with BCCI president N Srinivasan at the Cricket Centre yesterday to decide on the matter. “I don’t know how that match was scheduled at BKC. But once the match is given to the association, it is our prerogative to hold the match anywhere we want. When we came to know about the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) officials inspecting the facilities at the BKC Ground, we immediately wrote to the Board about considering the DY Patil Stadium as an option. The BCCI president was magnanimous in agreeing to shift the match to DY Patil during the meeting this (yesterday) morning. And, within five minutes it (venue) was decided,” Savant told reporters after meeting the BCCI president.

The MCA was keen on shifting the match from BKC for security reasons. “The Mumbai Police had raised some concerns regarding security. The DY Patil Stadium, being in our jurisdiction, it is the association’s duty to spread the game. People of Navi Mumbai will now be able to watch the England team play,” said Savant.

Savant claimed that the England board had reservations too regarding playing at the BKC. “The fence around the ground is too low, so anyone can enter the playing area. There are high-rise buildings around. There are no basic facilities like toilets, a cafeteria and seating arrangements for public. The Mumbai Police is capable of doing a good job in providing the necessary security, but there were several other issues that had to be addressed. So, the best option was to shift the match to the DY Patil Stadium which is a tried and tested venue,” said Savant.

Ironically, the DY Patil Stadium, which was rated as the sixth best cricket ground in the world by a British journal, is yet to host an international match.

Though the Nerul venue has hosted Indian Premier League matches including two finals, they were awarded a first-class match by MCA only recently.

Savant took a dig at the BCCI officials co-ordinating with the association over the last few days. “Normally, people who are co-ordinating with us should have sent our request to the Board. If those employees of the Board are not able to take a decision, then they should have sent it to the higher authorities.

They may have their own reasons or may not know anything about administration. These are the basics of administration,” said Savant.

Meanwhile, MCA vice-president Vijay Patil, owner of the DY Patil Stadium said: “We will charge spectators a small fee which we are still to work out with the MCA. But the objective will be to get in as many people into the stadium as possible to avail the facilities.”

England’s warm-up opponents undecided
With the two warm-up matches against England less than a fortnight away, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) that will be hosting ties, are not aware of the teams that will face the England side. “It may be a Board President’s XI side, but we are not yet aware, who the two teams will be. We should be getting the names of the players in the next couple of days,” MCA vice-president Vinod Deshpande told MiD DAY.

The first warm-up tie will be held at the Brabourne Stadium from October 30 to November 1, while the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul will host the second match from November 3. England will play four Tests, 2 T20Is and five ODIs. 

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