Coincidentally, IPL-10 final is a no home/away affair, a continuance of BCCI's domestic 'strategy'
Mumbai Indians fans cheer for their team during the IPL-10 final against Rising Pune Supergiant in Hyderabad yesterday. Pic/PTI
The Indian cricket board received a lot of flak for holding Ranji Trophy matches last season at neutral venues which didn't attract crowds. Without a doubt, the matter will be discussed at this week's conclave for captain and coaches.
However, the IPL-10 final between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant was played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here in Uppal yesterday, a neutral venue for both teams and there was no issue about a lack of spectators. The 36,000 capacity stadium was almost full even before the match started and many were still in the queue outside to get in even as the first five overs were being bowled.
An image of a food coupon given to journalists yesterday
In fact, during Saturday's pre-match press conference where captains and coaches of both teams were present, a Hyderabad-based journalist complained to MI skipper Rohit Sharma how the locals have not been able to buy tickets for the final, neither online or through the counter, because the game was a sell-out. He also asked Rohit to look into the matter and do something about local fans being deprived of the action.
Quite naturally, the Mumbai batsman was taken by surprise since he was in no position to interfere in administrative matters. "I don't know about local fans here, but till Friday night even we were not sure whether we'll be able to come here or not." Rohit's response attracted some level of laughter and his opposite number Steven Smith cracked up too.
Fresh food, but old coupons
The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium at Uppal in Hyderabad yesterday became the eighth venue to host an IPL final, but hosts Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) looked a little underprepared for such an important match. The food coupon the association provided to the media is one example.
The food coupons given out to journalists were the same that were used for February's India vs Bangladesh Test match. It can be recalled that the HCA refused to host the India-Bangladesh Test due to a lack of funds after the Supreme Court asked the BCCI not to disburse funds to all associations who did not implement Justice Lodha Committee recommendations.
Before the start of the IPL, the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) in fact directed the BCCI to release the Indian cricket board's share of Rs 30 lakh to all venues.
Will Feng return?
Alex Feng, the Chinese CEO of the IPL's title sponsor VIVO India, was seen enjoying the final at Uppal along with IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla and other guests yesterday evening. Incidentally, VIVO's title sponsorship rights ends with this edition of the tournament.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will open a tender process for allocating the cash-rich IPL's title sponsorship rights for the next five-year cycle on May 31. This was decided in a meeting between BCCI, IPL and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators here on Saturday evening.
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