‘Please allow us cricketers to jog in the MCA grounds, including the Wankhede Stadium,’ is a request that has landed at the desk of Mumbai Cricket Association president Vijay Patil. Two apex council members Nadeem Memon and Kiran Powar, who is also the representative of the Indian Cricketers Association, sent an official request to Patil to this effect.
Ajinkya Rahane had earlier verbally asked for MCA’s permission to use their facilities for training, but it was denied due to the pandemic. Apart from Rahane, Mumbai have Rohit Sharma, Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Shivam Dubey, Shardul Thakur, Aditya Tare, and Suryakumar Yadav who are expected to travel to the United Arab Emirates for the Indian Premier League. Virat Kohli too resides in Mumbai and has used MCA facilities in the past.
The Indian Express understands that the MCA sent another reminder to the Maharashtra government with a copy of the Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) formulated by the Indian board last week, seeking permission to start cricket training in the city.
The MCA has three grounds in the city with Wankhede Stadium in South Mumbai, and two others in the suburbs – the Sharad Pawar Indoor Academy in Bandra and the MCA Kandivali Club. The association hasn’t conducted any cricketing activities since March. However, during the unlockdown phase, many state bodies have started allowing players to do fitness drills in their premises. IPL franchise Mumbai Indians had also arranged a practice session for its players Sharma and Yadav to train.
In their email to apex council members, accessed by The Indian Express, Memon wrote that MCA should allow its star players heading to play the IPL to use MCA facilities.
“Government of Maharashtra has allowed jogging and running in open grounds. Last five months, cricketers are at home and need to start fitness by running and jogging,” Memon wrote.
He argued that since clubs in suburban areas have allowed members to use their facilities for walking and jogging, MCA should also do likewise for its star players.
In his reply to Memon’s email, Powar stated that as BCCI has announced its tentative cricket calendar with tournaments likely to start in November, MCA should allow the senior state team to use the indoor facility.
“My request is that our senior team should start training at BKC indoor facility in small groups of 3 to 5 and on alternate days,” Powar wrote.