The ground staff of Wankhede Stadium were surprised when the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) rewarded them for their excellent work carried out in the World Cup, which was followed by the Indian Premier League (IPL).
MCA awarded Rs one lakh to curator Sudhir Naik, Rs 50,000 each to assistant curators Ramesh Mahmunkar and Madhukar Botle, and Rs 25,000 each to the 12-man groundsmen team recently. Naik & Co not just had to relay the wicket but also had to prepare a fresh outfield in record time of less than eight months after the venue underwent renovation for the World Cup.
The non-stop cricket at Wankhede prevented the ground staff from taking an off a month before the World Cup kicked off in February till the IPL IV got over last month.
"It obviously feels nice that our efforts were recognised by the MCA," Mahmunkar told MiD DAY yesterday before adding, "we never expected to get any such reward. Our only intention was to get the stadium ready on time and successfully conduct the World Cup matches here."
Botle said: "Our biggest reward was to successfully host the World Cup final. There is no bigger joy than this."
"There was tremendous pressure as there were many detractors who didn't want us to complete (the ground) on time. But we are happy to contribute in making the MCA and Indian board proud," he added.
The groundsmen, who are paid a salary ranging between Rs 3000 to Rs 15000, were obviously delighted to receive the bonus.
"This money will take care of my child's education at least till Standard XII. Though it was unexpected (to get cash reward), it is nonetheless a great gesture by the MCA," said Nitin More, a senior groundsmen.
As per their contracts with the MCA, the groundsmen receive one month's salary for every international match hosted in Mumbai.