Ranji Trophy: Puducherry-Manipur contest shift to Anantpur

The decision was taken by the BCCI after the pitch fiasco at the CAP Siechem ground in Puducherry earlier this week.

Representative Image: The BCCI is as yet undecided on the venue for Puducherry’s final match, against Nagaland.   -  AFP

Puducherry will play its home game against Manipur in Anantpur, a neutral venue, from Sunday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has confirmed.

The decision was taken after the pitch fiasco at the CAP Siechem ground in Puducherry earlier this week. The Ranji Trophy fixture between Puducherry and Uttarakhand had to be abandoned after both the pitches used for the contest were deemed unfit by the match referee due to variable bounce. In an internal probe, the BCCI found there are some “issues with the ground,” which need to be addressed.

‘Issues’

“In his report, our neutral curator has specified that there are some issues with the ground and it needs some rest,” BCCI’s GM, Cricket Operations, Syed Saba Karim told Sportstar. “As a result, we have decided to shift Puducherry’s next home match to Anantpur,” he added.

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Saba Karim, however, did not specify whether the team’s final match, against Nagaland, starting on January 7, will also be played there. “As of now, the next match will be played in Anantpur. We will take a call about the last game later,” he said. However, it seems likely that the match against Nagaland will also be played in Anantpur, in light of the neutral curator’s remarks that the Siechem ground needs “rest.”

The pitch at the CAP Siechem ground was deemed unsafe for cricket. File Photo: S. S. Kumar

 

But what will be BCCI’s future course of action? “We have had matches on that ground earlier and had no issues. But we have gone through the neutral curator’s report and are looking into the matter,” he said.

‘Dangerous bounce’

The first two days’ play were washed out due to rain and the match could start only on the third day. Barely fifty balls were bowled when the umpires Yeshwant Barde and M. Kuppuraj deemed the pitch unsafe for play as there was variable bounce.

In accordance with the BCCI rules, the match was then shifted to an adjoining pitch and a new toss was done on the final day. But even the new pitch acted strangely and there was uneven and at times “dangerous bounce.” The home side batted for 15 overs with the score reading 23 for three when the match was finally called off.

Even as the BCCI ponders about the future course of action, the Cricket Association of Puducherry (CAP) officials insist that the problem arose as the pitch was under cover for more than two days due to incessant rain.