Team Ranchi cheer after defeating West Singhbhum by 69 runs at the final inter-district women’s cricket match in the capital on Monday . Pictures by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi’s International Stadium Complex is readying for new challenges after handing India a memorable seven-wicket ODI victory last month.
The stadium, which has won plaudits from cricket pundits across the globe for its superior infrastructure, has been chosen to host a number of domestic as well as international matches, that includes two big-ticket Indian Premier League (IPL) clashes.
The year’s domestic cricket season will start with the stadium hosting the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Though not international, it is a coveted tournament organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The tournament — named after former Indian batsman Syed Mushtaq Ali who is credited with scoring the first test century overseas against England in Manchester in 1936 — will be held in March, the dates of which are yet to be announced.
Tamil Nadu holds the record of winning the first edition of the tournament, an inter-state knockout T20 event, in 2006-07. Since then, Maharashtra, Baroda and Bengal have been on the winning list.
The tournament is the usual hunting ground for talent scouts of various IPL franchises looking to fine-tune their team composition before the league in April.
Jharkhand State Cricket Association’s media officer Manoj Kumar said preparations had begun.
“Our aim will be to host the quarterfinals, semifinals and the final match of the Mushtaq Ali tournament in the new stadium. The final schedule is yet to reach us, but we expect to corner a number of matches,” he said.
The state cricket board will also play host to two IPL matches on May 12 and May 14. On the celebrity cricket match to be held at the stadium on February 24, Kumar said the state board wasn’t involved in its organisation.
“We are not involved with the Celebrity Cricket League as such. We merely rented out the ground to the organisers. Our focus primarily is on the Mushtaq Ali tournament,” he clarified.
Kumar said all the top eight Ranji teams would play in the Mushtaq Ali tournament after the initial league stages.
“All the top players, except those called up for national duty to play against Australia for a four-match Test series, will compete in the domestic T20 tie. It will be an opportunity for Ranchites to root for their favourite players once again,” Kumar said.