Jaipur back as Rajasthan's IPL venue
The Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur is set to host all of Rajasthan Royals' home games during the upcoming edition of the IPL. The BCCI will relocate the matches to the original host city of the franchise after having allotted them to Ahmedabad and Rajkot following the prolonged dispute over use of the stadium.
In a meeting between the IPL, Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) and Rajasthan Royals' officials at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai, the RCA acting secretary KK Sharma was told to go ahead with the preparations. "The board gave us the nod during yesterday's meeting and we have started the preparations," Sharma told ESPNcricinfo. "We will work in tandem with Rajasthan Royals to ensure Jaipur stages a grand IPL show yet again."
The matches had been shifted out of Jaipur due to a standoff between the RCA and the Rajasthan state sports council, which owns the stadium. Since the memorandum of understanding (MoU) expired last July, both the parties had a disagreement about the terms of renewal. Since it was getting late, the BCCI had put the two venues in Gujarat on standby and then allotted the games to them.
However, the Rajasthan High Court on Friday directed the sports council and the RCA to come to an agreement for the larger good of the cricket-loving public in Jaipur. So on Sunday, they signed an MoU for five years. RCA paid them Rs 1 crore immediately and handed over eight post-dated cheques of Rs 20 lakh each as rent for IPL games.
As a result, the RCA were handed over the possession of the stadium on Monday. RCA curator Taposh Chatterjee had been working along with his team of groundstff to get the venue in shape for the Royals' first home game, against defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders on April 8.
While Rajasthan Royals chief executive Raghu Iyer welcomed the move, saying Jaipur "has always been the preferred home ground for Royals", he said that it would be the BCCI who will be the final authority. The BCCI will take a final call after inspecting the stadium in "around a fortnight's time".
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo