Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) is set to host a bounty of cricket action in 2016, beginning with the India-Sri Lanka T20 International at the Gahunje Stadium on February 9 followed by the Ranji Trophy final from February 24 to 28.
The weekday encounter between the two Asian rivals will be the part of the three-match T20I series and shall also serve as a preparatory ground ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup, which will be held in India in March-April.
Adding to the list is a Test match and a One Day International (ODI), which comes owing to the packed home schedule that the Indian team has in 2016.
MCA President Ajay Shirke said: “This year MCA is delighted to announce that cricket action will be across all forms that the game is played. While official international encounters — T20I, an ODI and a Test add spice, the Indian Premier League will have a full schedule of ‘home’ matches unfold courtesy the new Pune franchise, while the Ranji Trophy final will be historic as it would be only the second time ever that the city will host this showpiece BCCI tournament final.”
The India-Sri Lanka T20I will be the third major match to be played at MCA Stadium. The other two include India-England T20I in 2012 and India-Australia ODI played in 2013.
The MCA will host Sri Lanka after a gap of 10 years. The last time both teams met was at the association’s former home ground — Nehru Stadium in 2005.
Incidentally, the game played on November 3, 2005 was the last ever played at the venue, before MCA moved to the state-of-art stadium at Gahunje near Pune.
MCA’s three major upcoming fixtures come after the BCCI granted the association Test status last November.
Incidentally, the stadium was shortlisted by the BCCI as a backup venue to host the fourth Test match between India and South Africa, which however did not happen.
Meanwhile, the Ranji Trophy final will also stand out, as this comes after a gap of 76 years. The last-time the city hosted a Ranji final was in 1939-40 between Maharashtra and United Provinces.
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