The suspense is finally over. As per his wish, Sachin Tendulkar will play his 200th and final Test match at his home ground, the Wankhede stadium.
Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, Cricket Club of India’s (CCI) Brabourne Stadium and Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA) Wankhede were clamouring for the right to host the milestone Test, well before Tendulkar announced his retirement.
But Tendulkar’s wish sealed the deal in favour of Wankhede, where he was famously booed in 2006, while playing against England.
After the 40-year-old earmarked the Test as his last on Thursday, the rush to garner the hosting rights for the second Test against West Indies touched unmatched heights. Because of board politics, BCCI had wanted to hand the match to CCI.
Both, the MCA and the CCI, had expressed their willingness to host the second Test because it was Tendulkar’s 200th game.
Apart from having a voting right in the BCCI, the CCI is also an affiliated member of the Mumbai Cricket Association. The matter had caused uproar within MCA, with the association even lodging a complaint.
With Sharad Pawar’s decision to stand for the MCA president’s post, the talk amongst the BCCI top brass was to hand the game to the CCI instead of the Wankhede.
However, Friday’s confirmation followed weeks of confusion over the fate of the venue. Kolkata was ruled out after BCCI’s Tours and Fixtures Committee chairman Rajiv Shukla said on Friday that the match will be played in Mumbai — without clarifying whether it would at Wankhede or Brabourne.
That got the MCA president and BCCI vice president, Ravi Savant, to take up the matter with BCCI chief, N Srinivasan, and he officially announced the decision even before the Tours and Fixtures Committee could meet.
It seems Tendulkar’s personal choice prevailed and Wankhede has been given the honour of hosting the final Test of Mumbai’s favourite son.
“The decision was taken after Tendulkar made a request to the BCCI to keep his 200th Test at Wankhede,” confirmed Savant, after a meeting with Srinivasan.
“I do not want to get into details of what transpired in the meeting but it was finally decided that the Test will be played at Wankhede,” he added.
The first Test will be played from Nov 6-10 and the second from 14-18. West Indies will play the ODIs on November 21, 24 and 27.