New Delhi: The staging of the 2012-13 Irani Trophy, traditionally the season opener to the Indian domestic season, in Jaipur next month is in doubt due to tensions between the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) and the Rajasthan Sports Council (RSC).
The RSC owns the Sawai Mansingh Stadium and has not allowed RCA officials to enter its gates since July, due to which preparation for the Irani Trophy, scheduled from September 21-25, came to a halt. It has also been raining in Jaipur for the last couple weeks, leaving the pitches and outfield at the venue in a mess.
Speaking to Cricketnext, the RCA secretary KK Sharma said that the issues between the home board and the RSC had been sorted out but slammed the RSC for its careless and irresponsible approach towards the stadium. "There were no issues from our side. We've paid our dues and we function in a legitimate manner abiding by laws. We had a formal meeting with the RSC members and they've allowed us to use the stadium but the pitch and outfield are in bad state,” he said. “It was highly irresponsible on the RSC’s part not to cover the pitch while it has been raining heavily in Jaipur which has left the stadium in poor condition. They knew that Jaipur is slated to stage an Irani Trophy match yet they turned a blind eye. Their curator and ground staff were on leave. They didn't have adequate equipments to prepare the stadium for big match."
Tensions between the RCA and RSC could result in the domestic season opener being shifted out of Jaipur.
According to Sharma, the RCA’s members have taken charge of the Sawai Mansingh Stadium for preparation of the match but refused to confirm whether Jaipur would host the high-profile encounter. "Our members have started working to get things in order. We'll try our best to prepare a good pitch and improve the ground conditions as the Irani Trophy is a big match but I cannot guarantee at this stage whether the match will take place in Jaipur. If te RSC will support us in our endeavor, we're hopeful of putting up a fine structure and organize the match,” he said.
A senior RCA official told Cricketnext that the writing was on the wall and that the pitch for a match of this importance could not be prepared in such a short duration. "Ideally, it takes a month to whip out a sporting, competitive wicket for such big matches given the weather is fine,” he said. “But torrential downpour has assailed Jaipur for the last 15 to 20 days and the pitch was left uncovered. Even now, the weather is inclement and it rained 100mm yesterday. How could all the preparations be made when the whole stadium is in complete disarray?
“The agreement between the RCA and RSC is a hoax. Why did the RSC relent so late to let the RCA use the ground? If they had wanted the RCA to organize a match, they would have relented much before or at least could have taken customary precautions and actions to save the pitch and take care of stadium's condition. It is in the best interest of everyone that the match must be shifted out of Rajasthan."
Rajasthan cricket continues to be mired in controversy.