U-16 Harris Shield final at Azad Maidan irks finalists
Considering previous editions of the prestigious U-16 Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) Harris Shield inter-school cricket final were held at better venues — Shivaji Park Gymkhana ground (2015), Bombay Gymkhana (2014), Matunga Gymkhana (2013) and Cricket Club of India (2012) — to see this season's final between Al-Barkaat MMI (Kurla) and Rizvi Sprinfield (Bandra) being held at Azad Maidan's Sassanian Cricket Club ground came as a surprise.
No wonder defending champions Al-Barkaat's coach Nafees Khan is upset. "Our boys are senior school players and deserve to play the final at a better venue. The U-14 Giles Shield final was played at the Vengsarkar Academy Ground, Oval Maidan. Cricket is one of MSSA's most important sporting disciplines, but they are doing nothing to promote it," said Khan Rizvi coach Raju Pathak also agreed that the final deserved a better venue.
"This final should have been played at a better ground, but MSSA officials informed us that they approached various venues and Sassanian was the only one they managed to get," said Pathak. MSSA cricket secretary Esmero Figueiredo said that since the tournament was delayed, Sassanian was the only available venue for the April
"We originally scheduled the final for April 26, but the teams said that many of their players were unavailable. We approached a number of venues including the Karnatak Sporting Association (Cross Maidan), Vengsarkar Academy and Sachivalaya grounds (Oval Maidan) and Bombay Gymkhana among others, but only this ground was available," Esmero told mid-day.