Kanpur is set to host its maiden IPL matches --- on May 19 and 21 --- but the city has only one five-star hotel, giving rise to a peculiar situation, where there won’t be enough rooms for three teams to stay at the same time.
As a result, two visiting teams — Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and the Mumbai Indians (MI) — will have to check in and check out within the same time period. The hosts, Gujarat Lions, led by Suresh Raina, who checked into the five-star facility on Monday, will be lodged there till Saturday. The Lions have opted for Kanpur’s Green Park as their second home ground.
Mumbai Indians are expected to reach Kanpur on Friday, about 90 minutes after the Gautam Gambhir-led KKR team is supposed to check out the hotel, having played Gujarat Lions on Thursday night.
Mumbai Indians will play their last league match of the season against Gujarat Lions on Saturday.
“We don’t have enough rooms to accommodate three teams at a time. We will be in a position to entertain Mumbai Indians only on Friday morning, when KKR leave for their match in Kolkata,” said a hotel official on Monday.
Fans take a hit too
Paucity of five-star hotels in the industrial city has also forced the 300-odd supporters of KKR and Mumbai Indians to stay on the outskirts of the state capital.
“We have managed 2-3 three-star hotels in Lucknow and a few quality guesthouses in Kanpur so that the friends and supporters of the two teams can stay there,” said an official.
“Special arrangements are being made for the stay of cheerleaders and officials too,” he added.
Before their Kanpur foray, Mumbai Indians are expected to reach Lucknow on Tuesday afternoon and stay in a five-star hotel in Gomti Nagar over the next two days. “We have arranged a ground (Dr Akhilesh Das Stadium) for Mumbai Indians’ training,” said Lucknow’s cricket association secretary KM Khan.
Gujarat Lions sources confirmed Raina will join the side on Wednesday morning as he is still with wife Priyanka Chaudhary and newborn daughter Gracia Raina in Amsterdam. He was by his wife’s side at the time of delivery and had to miss the match against RCB.
“Once Raina is here, we will celebrate the birth of the child by winning both matches,” a team official said.
Almost all the members of the Gujarat Lions checked into the five-star hotel at Kanpur after landing at the Amausi airport on Monday.