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Class cricket eludes Siliguri

Siliguri, Oct. 29: Cricket buffs here will not be able to watch any first-class match at Kanchenjungha Stadium this year also, for lack of initiative by the Siliguri Mahakuma Krira Parishad.

The SMKP said it was pre-occupied with other sport tournaments and hence, it could not make preparations for cricket matches at the stadium.

“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) held a meeting in August to fix schedules of domestic tournaments and allotted matches to different states. After the fixture was ready, we met the officials of the SMKP and asked them, if they would be able to host any first class match in Siliguri. We have not got any response from them,” said Biswarup Dey, the joint secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), told The Telegraph from Calcutta.

According to the CAB official, a lot of preparations are needed to organise first-class cricket matches like Ranji Trophy or Duleep Trophy.

“The pitch needs to be nurtured properly and the ground work has to start much in advance. As no such steps have been taken by the SMKP, chances of holding any cricket match for the domestic tournament in Siliguri are highly unlikely,” said Dey.

Major cricket matches were last played here in 2007-2008 when Bengal took on Punjab and Orissa in Ranji Trophy on two straight days.

Nantu Pal, the secretary of the SMKP, said: “We could not give a word to the CAB on cricket matches as there are some prior commitments in other sports. The National Championship of kho-kho, a night football tournament and an athletic meet for physically-challenged persons have been lined up and the Kanchenjungha Stadium will host all these events. Keeping these in view, we did not take the responsibility of holding any cricket match here.”

Pal, however, said once these tournaments were over, the stadium would be given a facelift and the ground condition improved to host cricket matches. “We will definitely organise first class cricket matches here and we have already proved that we are capable of hosting such tournaments.”

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