June 15, 2001

Indian news round-up

Staff and Agencies

* Dambulla stadium removed from list of venues

The Sri Lanka Cricket Board's (BCCSL) interim committee on Thursday took the decision to remove the controversial Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium from its list of venues for next month's one-day triangular series. Interim committee sources said the decision to take the matches away from Dambulla was arrived at on the advice of their lawyers and, with the consultation of the Sports Minister. They said legal implications on the ownership of the land was the main issue regarding the change of venue.

The interim committee was looking out for an alternative venue to play the three matches involving Sri Lanka, India and New Zealand. The matches are due to be played between July 25-28. Galle International Stadium and the Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo are being looked at as alternate venues.

The Dambulla stadium, built in a record time of 175 days at an initially estimated cost of Rs. 300 million, hosted the first one-day international between Sri Lanka and England on March 23. Since then a legal dispute over the ownership of the land and the alleged mismanagement of finances which is currently under investigation have raised a question mark against staging of international matches at this venue. The first four-day unofficial Test between Sri Lanka A and Pakistan A is currently being played there.

* Blind cricketers preparing for World Cup

They are fans of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly. Whenever they have the opportunity, they rush to the Eden Gardens to see these stars play. Now, they themselves are preparing for the World Cup at New Zealand in December this year. Every day, one can find them sweating out on a small piece of land in the Maidan area of Kolkata. But ask them, and they will tell you that even though they have been to the Gardens, they have never seen the stars play. They have not even seen pictures of the Indian cricketers on the telly or in the newspapers. Surprising isn't it? But then these cricketers are blind.

Gaurav Goenka, Chandan Maity, Pradip Jha, Santosh Sahani and LN Adhikari are four blind cricketers from Bengal who are practicing day and night to be ready for selection to the camp for the probables. One was surprised to see the manner in which they played the game. The bat was the normal one. The ball was of plastic with small ball bearings inside. The bowling was under arm and the batsmen played their shots depending on the sound that the bearings made as the ball was rolled along the pitch. The fielders also did the same, moving in the direction of the sound that the ball emitted. "We do not find it difficult," said Goenka. He even asked this correspondent to bowl and confidently handled under arm leg spin. Even when the pace was varied, Goenka was equal to the task.

The cricketers however, have one complaint. The apathy of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) towards them. "We do not have a proper place to practice," laments Pradip Jha. Repeated requests to the CAB have been of no avail. "But then we fight on simply because we love the game," said Jha. One can see their tenacity. They do not want any sympathy but help for going ahead in life. "We will not be able to see what you write for us," is their chorus. But please come again. We need your moral support," says Goenka. One realizes that even though the cricketers are blind, they give a light of hope to all those who fight darkness.

* Newly formed associations in wrangling match

Wrangling between two newly-formed cricket associations of the new state has taken a curious turn with the Cricket Association of Jharkhand (CAJ) filing two cases against the JCA (Jharkhand Cricket Association) in two courts praying for injunction on JCA's election on June 17.

Both the cases were filed on Wednesday by CAJ annual member Jaki Ahmed in the Munsiff Court in Jamshedpur and the CAJ secretary Prabir Kumar in the Saraikela Court in Saraikela-Kharswan district praying for the permanent injunction on the JCA election on June 17 or on any other date. Both petitioners contended "JCA is a fake organisation, practically not in existence." Contending that the CAJ was the only legally constituted organisation in Jharkhand formed with members from the Bihar Cricket Association (BCA), the petitioners said on the notice of former BCA secretary, BN Singh on January 7, the constitution of the CAJ was drafted on March 18.

Following the notification of the JCA to conduct elections on June 17, the CAJ counsels prayed for permanent injunction on JCA to hold any election on June 17 or on any other date. "JCA's notice on May 31 is illegal and inoperative" as it has "no legal right, authority or locus standi to hold election of office bearers on June 17 or on any other date," they said in the courts. The petitioners also accused the JCA chief, Deval Sahay and the chairman of adhoc committee, SP Sinha for trying to create disturbances in the smooth running of CAJ after being frustrated in their attempt to capture power.

The two organisations came into being after the creation of Jharkand. The election of CAJ was held here on May 13 in the presence of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, AK Singh in which 298 members participated and office bearers and committee members were duly elected.