Jaipur: Uncertainty looms large over the city's chances of hosting this edition's IPL matches as the MoU between Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) and Rajasthan State Sports council (RSSC), which had expired last year, is yet to be renewed. Rajasthan Royals though, are holding their camp at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium, and team CEO, Raghu Iyer, and skipper, Rahul Dravid, are confident that the matter would be sorted out by the state government, RCA and RSSC.
"Yes there is an air of uncertainty over the venue. We have met the government, RSSC and the RCA officials and all of them want the IPL matches to held here only. We are part of the IPL and whatever BCCI says we will have to follow it," Iyer said.
The MoU between RCA and RSCC regarding the use of the stadium had expired in August last year. The RSCC was reluctant to renew it in present form and the RCA was not willing to relent either.
The row had robbed Jaipur's chances of hosting the prestigious Irani Trophy match. RSSC officials claimed that it was RCA who was guilty of taking the home advantage out of the equation.
"We had asked the RCA to apply for the ground and stage the match. They did not pay any heed and even then we handed over the ground without formalities. The government has intervened and assured that the Rajasthan Royals can directly acquire the ground for IPL matches," said an RSSC official.
Reportedly, the BCCI has given RCA deadline till January 31 to make its position regarding MOU.
"BCCI has a policy under which it either gives matches to state association that has its own stadium or to those who have long-term MOU for their grounds. The RCA has to send the copy of MOU regarding SMS ground to BCCI, only then the IPL matches would be allowed here. The final decision in the matter of MOU would be taken by C P Joshi, president of the RCA," said K K Sharma, the body's officiating secretary.
Sources said that it was due to a proxy war between Chief Minister Ashok Ghelot and Joshi, the central minister, which is taking a toll on Rajasthan cricket.
"The RCA president wants that the president of the RSSC, Shivcharan Mali is removed from the post. The government and all others want the IPL matches to be held here, especially in the election year. The state government would be red faced if the matches are shifted to the BJP governed Gujarat," said an official of RCA.
Undeterred by the happenings which are beyond his control, Dravid said that he and his team mates would prefer to play here.
"We love the city and the facilities available here. We had a look at the SMS ground and it was not bad. It would in playing condition if get it as early as possible. It is up to the BCCI to decide where we play our matches. We would like to play here. We would cross the bridge if it comes to it. We played good cricket in previous edition of the IPL and were in content_cnion till the last few games. We do not have many holes to fill in. We are keeping an eye on players like Rituraj Singh and a few others," Dravid said.