Heavy rains force Irani Cup out of Jaipur
The Irani Cup fixture has been moved from Jaipur after the BCCI grounds and pitches committee chairman reported the conditions "unplayable" upon inspection. Venkat Sundaram, the committee chairman, visited the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Saturday and found the venue unsuitable for the September 21 domestic season opening clash between defending champions Rajasthan and Rest of India, despite desperate measure being put by the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA).
"Because of heavy rains the playing conditions are not likely to improve," Sanjay Jagdale, BCCI secretary, told ESPNcricinfo. "Venkat Sundaram inspected the outfield and the wicket today and felt it would not be playable in the short period. We are now in the process of finding an alternate venue."
Sundaram, who inspected the ground for about an hour in the morning, was "concerned" about the pitch, which he felt was in no condition to stage the match. "The outfield could be improved. But he [Sundaram] felt it would be difficult to prepare the pitch in time - it needs top dressing which would mean at least four to six weeks of work," an RCA official said.
"There is lot of water on and around the pitch still due to the rains. There was also fungus on the grass as the ground was locked for two months," the official said.
Sundaram advised the groundsman and the RCA officials, including secretary KK Sharma, to take necessary measures to make the ground match fit for the rest of the season.
The news would come as a setback for the RCA, which had been embroiled in a stalemate with the Rajasthan Sports Council (owners of the ground) since July and had been allowed entry to the ground only earlier this week. Despite not having access to the ground for two months, Taposh Chatterjee, the head groundsman at the RCA, was confident about getting the ground ready for the match. However, the inclement weather posed a threat to the preparation. "The biggest challenge would be the weather. Otherwise we are confident to get the ground ready in a couple of weeks," an RCA official had said on Tuesday.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo