Azad Maidan, Cross Maidan, Oval Maidan and Shivaji Park. On these “maidans” or public parks of Mumbai, some of India’s biggest cricket stars like Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sandeep Patil, Ravi Shastri, Sanjay Manjrekar and Sachin Tendulkar started their careers. Mumbai has 211 maidan cricket clubs.
For decades the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has been fighting to equip the city’s maidans with basic facilties: toilets and drinking water. The problem is that many of these grounds are heritage sites with strict rules about any developments on them.
The authorities are not “ready to listen to anything”, lamented MCA treasurer Prof Ratnakar Shetty. The government suggested using mobile toilets, but Shetty that was not a practical solution. Not even political heavy-weights cum cricket officials like government ministers Sharad Pawar and Vilasrao Deshmukh have been able to help out it seems.
Former Indian cricket captain Dilip Vengsarkar too vented his frustration with the inflexibility of the heritage committee.
“We have been told that cricketers should use toilets at nearby stations. Is it possible for a cricketer padded up to go to urinate at stations?” asked Vengsarkar.
Read more about Mumbai’s cricket culture in:
Deepika Sorabjee, Mumbai’s maidans: Former birthplaces of India’s cricket gods, CNNGo.com, 01 Oct 2010
Source: Harit N Joshi, Mid Day, 16 Jul 2011