Mumbai's senior team have been robbed a chance to tune-up for the domestic season after the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) missed the deadline to send an entry for the Thimmappaiah Memorial All India Invitation Cricket Tournament organised by the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA). The reason being busy authorities, who forgot to send the entry in time during the MCA elections.
The tournament will begin on July 22 and conclude on August 17. KSCA honorary Secretary Brijesh Patel confirmed Mumbai won't be participating. "Yes, the schedule is out. We have not received Mumbai's entry. I guess they were busy with their elections. They can only qualify if another team backs out," Patel told mid-day from Bangalore.
Reminders too missed: The office-bearers of the previous regime failed to respond to two reminders that the KSCA sent to MCA in May, as they were busy with the campaigning for the biennial elections that took place on June 17.
MCA Joint Secretary Dr Unmesh Khanvilkar said: "After the Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) appointed the coach and selectors for the senior team, I checked up with the chief selector (Milind Rege) about the team selection for the KSCA invitational tournament. That's when I realised that MCA had already missed the deadline. I took charge on June 23. The deadline was before the elections."
Several top teams from India participate in the tournament. The four-day matches are considered to be ideal preparation before the season kicks off. It also helps coaches gauge the form of their players.
Interestingly, the DY Patil Sports Academy managed to sent their entry on time and have got a berth in the tournament. Dilip Vengsarkar, the CIC chief and Mumbai Cricket Association vice-president stressed recently that Mumbai's senior teams will play in all the pre-season tournaments.
Pravin Amre, who coached Mumbai to a Ranji Trophy semi-final entry last season, acknowledged that pre-season tournaments are crucial. In 2013, MCA refused to send an entry for the Safi Darashah Trophy, an invitational tournament organised by KSCA, since the rganisers decided to charge Rs 1 lakh as entry fee.