Brabourne Stadium gears up for rare international fixture

The iconic stadium will be hosting a One-Day International after 12 years when India takes on Windies on Monday.

The Indian team trains at the Brabourne Stadium on Sunday.   -  Prashant Nakwe

If one had visited the Cricket Club of India (CCI) on Sunday, one would have felt a festive spirit.

While the groundsmen were busy readying the Brabourne Stadium for the fourth One-Day International (ODI) between India and the Windies, club officials were keeping a close eye on every little detail.

After all, on Monday, the iconic stadium will be hosting an ODI after 12 years. The last ODI at the venue was in 2006 when Australia squared off against the West Indies in the ICC Champions Trophy final. The stadium, which has a capacity of 23,000, last hosted an international match in 2009, when India took on Sri Lanka in a Test match.

The excitement among the members is palpable. While the club premises were being cleaned on Sunday afternoon to ensure the best possible service for players and international guests, the organising committee has made it a point that the security is beefed up.

Taking no chances

To avoid security mishaps, offices located in the small stretch between the venue and Churchgate, the city’s busiest railway station, have been given commands to follow by the Mumbai Police. Employees and security personnel deputed in these institutions must carry identity proofs.

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Named after Lord Brabourne, Governor of Bombay in the early 20th century, the stadium has so far hosted eight ODIs, 18 Tests and one T20I. Interestingly, India has played a lone ODI in 1995 at the stadium, where it defeated New Zealand by six wickets. Windies has played four ODIs here, losing three and winning one. The club has invited former India captain, Sachin Tendulkar, to inaugurate the match by ringing the bell.

Tepid response from fans

While the members are excited, it appears that only about 15,000 tickets have been sold till Sunday evening. The club had started online ticketing and it has been learnt that the east stand tickets have been sold out. Nearly 3,000 members have purchased tickets — which are priced at ₹100 for members. The spouses of the members will, however, have to spend ₹1,000 while ₹300 will have to be spent for children, for tickets.

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“The members will see the match from the club house, their spouses and children from the stands,” an official in the club told Sportstar.

Tickets have been priced at ₹800, ₹5,000 (for the CCI Premium East Stand Block with a food box and soft drink included in the ticket price) and ₹10,000 and ₹12,500 (both hospitality).

Tennis schedule tweaked

While the focus is on the international match, the club is also playing a host to the L&T Mumbai Open WTA USD 125K Series — where some prominent women tennis players from the world are participating. Though the main draw was scheduled to start from Monday, the organisers have postponed it by a day.

“Keeping in mind the large gathering which will be coming for the cricket match and to avoid any untoward incident, the organizers and WTA officials have jointly decided to start the main draw matches on Tuesday,” said a statement from joint tournament directors Prashant Sutar and Sunder Iyer.

With things in place, CCI is set to welcome back international cricket.