The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s most vocal official, Lalit Modi, was in mood for what is fast becoming a sport for Indian Board officials — ICC bashing. This time around, Modi was upset over the staging of the October 21 England vs Australia game, Diwali day.
“We tried to reason with the ICC to shift this match to some other date. But all our requests fell on deaf ears. It is most unfortunate to have a game on Diwali day,” said a visibly unhappy Modi. At this point in time, when the attention has been more on the verbal volleys between the Indian Board and cricket’s governing body than anything related to the game, one can only hope that this will be the last of these duels for a while. The controversy over the gate-money sharing has barely died down. Modi clarified that too. “The gate-money issue is not a problem for now as the BCCI is getting 100 per cent of it during the Champions Trophy.”
While on the issue of another bone of contention, the signing of the MPA — the document on which the ICC and India are at loggerheads and over which ICC president Percy Sonn said India’s hosting of the 2011 World Cup could be in jeopardy — Modi’s answer was more straightforward. “There is no threat to our hosting of the World Cup because we have got it at the General Body meeting of the ICC. As far as the MPA is concerned, we will sort it out in due course.”
Hopefully, at least. But in the meantime, more immediately, a lot of good has happened in the stadium here.
The BCCI’s new regime has been talking about providing the world’s best facilities in cricket stadiums across India and Modi seems to have made a start at the Sawai Man Singh here. Cricketers from across the world will not just be greeted by new pitches and a Bermuda grass outfield, they will also be able to use a brand new pavilion on the southern end and be watched from a new media box on the northern.
“We started the whole reconstruction work on April 2 this year. We have spent more than 27 crores on the entire work. And see where we are now?” said an elated Modi on Monday. The facilities are pretty state-of-the-art. They also have an all new flood-lit Rajasthan Cricket Academy coming up with indoor facilities that will be open to Champions Trophy participating teams.
“Though the Academy will be officially inaugurated on October 15, the day of India-England match, it will be available to teams from Tuesday itself,” said Modi.