Jagmohan Dalmiya may be organising a jamboree at the Eden on Thursday but most of his colleagues in the board are unlikely to be present. A host of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials, including president N Srinivasan, secretary Sanjay Jagdale and treasurer Ajay Shirke, will stay away from the event that will see many former India captains paraded on a cavalcade on the sidelines of Thursday’s India- Pakistan ODI in Kolkata.
Srinivasan’s absence should evoke curiosity as the board president was reportedly unhappy with the pitch laid out for the third Test between India and England last month. He is said to have expressed displeasure with the kind of wicket prepared by mercurial Eden curator Prabir Mukherjee.
That incident got further publicity when the curator attributed comments to Srinivasan and went onto criticise him. “Let Srinivasan say whatever he wants to. I don’t listen to him. I don’t even speak to the president of my association before preparing a wicket. I act as per my knowledge of the wicket,” Mukherjee had said then. Board sources say the curator had needlessly dragged the president into the controversy.
Among other officials, vice-president Niranjan Shah, secretary Jagdale and treasurer Shirke, too, have decided to skip the event. Shah is busy preparing with the inauguration of the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium in Khanderi, near Rajkot. A galaxy of board officials, including Srinivasan, is expected to be present for the opening which will be done by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has invited a host of former India and Pakistan captains, and they will be paraded during the innings break on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Sachin Tendulkar, back home after holidaying at a hill station, will be hitting the nets from Thursday. The Little Master, who has retired from ODI cricket, will be practising at the MCA’s Bandra-Kurla facility. Tendulkar, hoping to get back among the runs in Tests, will be playing the Ranji quarterfinal for Mumbai from January 6. Tendulkar decided not to attend the Kolkata function for which he was personally invited by Dalmiya. It is learnt that Tendulkar has excused himself from the event so as to focus on training.