It is unlikely to see lush green maidans equipped with basic sanitation soon. Toilets and proper drinking water have long been a problem for Mumbai cricketers, who ply almost everyday on iconic grounds like Azad Maidan, Cross Maidan, Oval Maidan and Shivaji Park.
Prof Shetty. PIC/Nimesh Dave
Some club members of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), who raised this issue in the 77th Annual General Meeting yesterday at the Wankhede Stadium, demanded a solution on the issue rather than only futile talk. "There is no will to do anything. We need concrete results now. It is impossible to continue like this. We are asking for basic facilities," said a member.
MCA treasurer Prof Ratnakar Shetty sympathised with the maidan clubs and cricketers, but expressed helplessness. "We have been fighting this issue for a few decades now. We have reached a dead end now, it seems. It is not that we are not following up this issue with the government. Our architects have given designs, but approvals are a major issue.
"Grounds like Azad and Oval are heritage structures and they are very strict about any developments on it. We expressed our cricketers' difficulties, but they are just not ready to listen to anything. They (government) suggested using movable toilets, but that is not a practical solution," Prof Shetty said. "We have not been able to solve this issue even with Mr Sharad Pawar and Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh's help," he added.
Dilip Vengsarkar said it is a very difficult task to convince the heritage committee. "We have been told that cricketers should use toilets at nearby stations. Is it possible for a cricketer padded up to go to urinate at stations?" asked Vengsarkar, before losing to Vilasrao Deshmukh.