The Indian Premier League will mark its return to India in Maximum City tonight. But the opening night is not likely to be attended by any officials of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), the ‘home association’ for the most number of games.
MCA officials said they hadn’t received any invite for either the opening ceremony or any of the Mumbai Indians’ seven home games.
“The last time the MCA hosted the IPL games, we were given 20 per cent passes for all games. This time, we have registered a protest with Board President Shashank Manohar. Since the IPL is a Board tournament, we should have got tickets but since that hasn’t happened, we will not attend matches,” MCA jt secretary Lalchand Rajput said.
While the opening tie will be at the Dr D.Y. Patil in Navi Mumbai, the Mumbai Indians play all their home games at the Brabourne Stadium. Though both venues are private, the Navi Mumbai stadium is an affiliated member of the MCA while Cricket Club of India, which owns Brabourne, is a BCCI member.
IPL Chairman Lalit Modi, however, rubbished the MCA’s claim.
“This is not true. In fact, since it is being played in Mumbai and they are the host association, we have gone the extra mile and given them 36 tickets for the President’s Box for the opening game. It’s never been done for any other association. And on top of that, we have given them another 1,00 tickets,” Modi told HT, adding, “I only have tomorrow’s game. Other games are being run by the franchise, so that’s not my issue.”
However, Rajput claimed they hadn’t received the invites till he left the MCA office on Thursday evening. It remains to be seen whether MCA chief Sharad Pawar also boycotts opening night.