Sachin Tendulkar may not be a part of the Mumbai Indians squad but as an ‘icon’ he is making his presence felt at the team’s training sessions. He is even a part of dressing-room strategizing. Tendulkar sat with his ‘former teammates’ in the dugout too, along with the other coaching staff. The master batsman’s MI jersey, however, is lacking sponsors.
While all other MI jerseys worn by players are packed with sponsorship credits, Tendulkar has a plain blue jersey which only sports owner Nita Ambani’s ‘Education For All’ campaign.
No team owners in the dugout
Team owners will not be sitting in the dugout, next to it or even anywhere around it. A designated area for team owners has been created at all venues here, some distance away from the dugout occupied by players, coaches and the immediate support staff. On Wednesday evening, Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan sat next to Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak, the minister of sport and youth development in Abu Dhabi and the man responsible for the IPL coming to the UAE. Mumbai Indians team owner Nita Ambani, meanwhile, sat in a separate enclosure with her franchise officials and other supporters.
Little to smile at gala dinner
The gala dinner hosted at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi to welcome the IPL in UAE was a strictly-on-invitation, VIP affair. One just couldn’t get through without the right accreditation, thanks to strict local security. That is how the IPL wanted it to be. N Srinivasan’s affidavit in the Supreme Court made all the news in the cricket circles in UAE and the possible after-effects of it gripped all those involved here. Nobody wanted any unnecessary conversation and news emerged that the ‘opening dinner’ had turned out to be a ‘pretty boring’ one. Only the BCCI, which didn’t have to shell out a single penny thanks to the Royal Family hosting the event, had something to smile about.