The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and its chairman, Giles Clarke, may have apologised to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and its president, N Srinivasan, over England Lions’s unauthorised visit to Mumbai but the issue has not yet blown over. Wittingly or unwittingly, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) dragged itself into the controversy for the visitors’ extended stay and is set to face the music.
Sources have indicated that the BCCI is contemplating action against the MCA for allowing the Lions to practise and play matches in the city without seeking the board’s permission. As a matter of protocol, state associations need to keep the parent body informed of their engagements with a foreign team.
As a first step, the MCA is likely to be showcaused for its action, rather inaction. The notice could be sent once Sanjay Jagdale returns from Dubai, where he has gone for the ICC chief executives’ meeting. The BCCI secretary is expected to return on Thursday. “We’ll definitely take up the matter with the MCA. This is something not expected of a responsible state association,” a top BCCI official told DNA.
The BCCI management is well aware of the equations within the MCA. The fact that Ravi Savant was elected president with the help of DY Patil Stadium custodian and vice-president Vijay Patil is not lost on the board’s top brass. “It is clear that some quid pro quo is going on there,” the official added.
The Lions have been in the city since November 20, making the Navi Mumbai stadium their base. They have had a few practice games and are likely to play a few more matches (including one against the Dutch team, in Pune) before flying out on December 17.
Their presence helped Steven Finn test his fitness levels. The England pacer, who was ruled out for the first two Tests of the ongoing series, played for the Lions and managed to prove his fitness. Clearly the fastest bowler in the series, Finn is playing the third Test in Kolkata.
The MCA has already been issued a note which the association has forwarded to the DY Patil Stadium management. Its reply has been sent to the BCCI but the matter is unlikely to end there.