The MCA authorities must reach out to the public and allot more tickets for them than before, compulsions notwithstanding. Importantly, the tickets should be sold in a fair manner without any controversy like the 2011 Test at Wankhede. The authorities announced that the tickets were sold out at the end of the third day’s play when Tendulkar was unbeaten against West Indies, 33 runs short of what would have been his 100th international century. However, there were still some vacant sections in the stands the following day, which left the fans wondering what MCA’s full house meant. Tendulkar getting dismissed for 94 (caught by Darren Sammy at second slip off Ravi Rampaul) was another disappointment.
Making spectators comfortable must also be a priority. Indian venues are not famous for doing this to perfection, but what better way to start than with Mumbai’s greatest cricketing son’s landmark 200th Test.
The MCA has less than a month to prepare for Tendulkar’s 200th Test match. It is unlikely that any major work on this front will begin before the Annual General Meeting on October 18. Considering this is the year of elections, major tasks will be assigned only once the new committees are formed.
Mumbai’s cricketing mandarins face a confronting situation. The world will be watching them and every move they make in terms of decision-making will be monitored by the media. Only poor administrators will feel weak in the knees thinking about the Herculean task ahead. But able men will look at Tendulkar’s 200th Test as an opportunity to put up a grand show. Sharad Pawar is set to be elected as president unopposed and he’ll do justice to the BCCI by agreeing for the Test to be held on Sachin’s home ground.
Old-timers reckon BCCI’s Golden Jubilee Test in 1980 when Mike Brearley’s Englishmen battled Gundappa Vishwanath’s Indians. The successful organisation of the Test matched the efficient work for the inaugural Test match at the Wankhede Stadium in the 1974-75 season. For the record, both Tests were won by the visitors.
Indian cricket fans will hope for a repeat performance, albeit only from an organisational point of view.