Ranji Trophy: Jammu and Kashmir team returns to Srinagar after three-year wait

Jammu and Kashmir's last home fixture in Srinagar was played in 2015.

Despite the cold conditions in Kashmir, the Sher-I-Kashmir Stadium has largely favoured the batsmen in the past   -  Special Arrangement

When Jammu and Kashmir takes the field against Tripura at the Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar for its third Ranji Trophy fixture starting Tuesday, First-Class cricket will return to the valley after three years.

The last time Jammu and Kashmir played a Ranji Trophy fixture at home was in 2015. While Srinagar hosted the one game against Kerala, Gandhi Memorial Science College Ground in Jammu hosted three games.

In 2014, the team’s home matches were shifted to Punjab after flood affected the valley. And even after that, with the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) involved in scandals and infighting, matches had to be shifted away from home as the grounds were not ready.

First-class cricket returns to the Kashmir Valley after three years.   -  Special Arrangement

 

But this season, the state team will play its home matches at the Sher-I-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar and Gandhi Memorial Science College Ground in Jammu (which will host three fixtures, starting with the one against Uttar Pradesh from December 6-9).

Read: ‘J&K can do good things in future’

While the players and cricket enthusiasts are happy to see cricket returning to the state, weather could play a spoilsport. There was snowfall in parts of the state a couple of days ago and the mercury has dipped quite a bit. Chances of interruptions are high.

But Parvez Rasool, the Jammu and Kashmir captain and India international, is confident that weather conditions will not have an adverse effect on proceedings. “If the matches can start on time, then we can have full overs on all the days. But yes, since the winter is setting in, there could be a bit of pauses in between,” Rasool told Sportstar on Saturday.

The picturesque Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium, which will host Jammu and Kashmir's fixture against Tripura, with the mountains in the backdrop.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

Jammu and Kashmir has had a forgettable start to the season as it lost its opener against Team Rajasthan, while the second match against Goa was drawn. But Goa took three points on the basis of first-innings lead, so Rasool’s men will be keen to make the most of playing at home.

“Playing at home is always a good thing. We know the conditions well and we have had long preparation camp here, so everyone knows how the conditions would be. So, that gives us the edge,” Rasool said.

Another India international, Irfan Pathan, in the ranks, hopes the team bounces back soon. “It will be a good moment for Jammu and Kashmir’s cricket and the fans will be able to cheer for the home team again. That will be a big boost for the team,” Pathan said.

The Sher-I-Kashmir Stadium has largely favoured the batsmen in the past and the home team hopes that it remains that way. “The boys are confident and we are looking forward to some good cricket at home,” the captain said.