The Jammu and Kashmir cricketers will travel to Vadodara for a preparation camp, which begins from Friday. With none of the grounds ready in the valley, the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) has decided to hold a ten-day camp at the Motibaug Stadium, under the watchful eyes of mentor Irfan Pathan and coach Milap Mewada.
“The U-16, U-19 and U-23 boys will be training in Jammu, but those facilities aren’t quite suitable for the senior team. So, we have decided to send the boys to Vadodara,” JKCA’s CEO Ashiq Ali Bukhari, told Sportstar .
Usually, the team practises in Srinagar till the first week of November and then shifts to Jammu during winters. But ever since the Indian government decided to abrogate Article 370 -- which granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir -- there has been a curfew in most parts of the valley. And consequentially, that has affected JKCA’s plan. “The senior team requires certain facilities, and at the moment, things are not quite ready in Jammu, so we had to send them elsewhere in a bid to ensure that they don’t miss out on any further practice,” Bukhari said.
After being forced to pull out of the Vizzy Trophy, the JKCA had put out an advertisement on local television channels, to reach out to the players from Srinagar and the other districts.
READ: Vihari: It would be great to play in front of my home crowd vs SA
“The advertisement had great response from the players. Most of the boys gathered in Jammu in time. A total of 27 senior cricketers and nearly 90 junior cricketers have reached Jammu now,” Bukhari said.
With not much time left for the Vijay Hazare Trophy -- which begins on September 24 -- the JKCA plans to play a few practice games in Vadodara. “I had personally requested Samarjit Gaekwad for help and he readily agreed to allow us practise at the Motibaug,” Pathan said.
The seasoned India cricketer, who has been associated with the team for two seasons now, has also spoken to Parthiv Patel in order to organise a few practice matches with Gujarat team. “I am waiting to hear from Parthiv. But we also plan to host a few more matches, so that we are absolutely ready by the time the season begins,” Pathan said.
The JKCA had started its camp at the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar in July, before the players were asked to leave the valley. That certainly had an effect on the team’s practice as there has not been any cricketing activity for nearly a month. “We have lost a bit of time, but there is still some time in hand and we are confident of getting things right,” Pathan said.
The players are supposed to reach Vadodara on Thursday.