Sports


Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s ‘farewell’ captaincy match main focus in Brabourne

hindustantimes.com

Ever since chairman of selectors MSK Prasad announced Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the captain for the first warm-up game between India ‘A’ and England at the Brabourne Stadium on Tuesday, officials at the Cricket Club of India, the owners of the ground, have been on their toes.

It is learnt that the official broadcasters wanted to cash in on the fact that it will be Dhoni’s last match as skipper and requested the BCCI for a live telecast of the day-night tie.

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The decision to make Dhoni skipper in the warm-up tie caught the CCI officials off guard, giving them little time to make proper arrangements.

“Till now we were preparing as just another warm-up match. But now, with the match being shown live and being labelled as Dhoni’s last tie as skipper, we are expecting at least 15 to 20,000 people to flock the stadium. We will have to request for additional police force to control the crowd. The atmosphere is going to be like an international match and we have to live up to our high standards,” a top CCI official told Hindustan Times on Saturday.

Dhoni is not the only star attraction for the first warm-up match. Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra are also part of the 12-member team. The CCI official said they were mulling issuing tickets for the match, but the idea has been dropped due to time constraint.

Although Prasad sidestepped the question whether it was the BCCI’s way of giving farewell to Dhoni’s the captain, the chairman of selector said he is a natural skipper. “He is the best guy to look after the youngsters. We know what Mahi does. It is not about him stepping down or anything like that. He is a captain by nature; he leads from the front. Dhoni went to Zimbabwe also for the same reason and that is why he is named India-A captain,” Prasad had said on Friday.

The second warm-up match against England will also be played at the Brabourne Stadium on January 12, but there won’t be any live coverage for the match.

Paranjape, Khoda set to go

Meanwhile, Jatin Paranjape and Gagan Khoda are set to be removed from the national selection panel after the Lodha Committee, in its email to the BCCI, clearly stated that Friday’s five-member selection committee meeting was permitted only as “an exception”.

“Going forward, it will have to be strictly in terms of the Supreme Court judgement,” Lodha Committee secretary Gopal Sankaranarayanan said in his email. According to SC’s July 18 order, the three-member selection panel will consist of only Test cricketers. Paranjape and Khoda could represent only Mumbai and Rajasthan, respectively.

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