A world-class stadium should always have its galleries full.
The Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) has decided to pack its domestic calendar with more action by introducing an under-25 inter-zonal willow tournament from this season. Though the actual date of launch hasn’t been decided yet, JSCA officials on Sunday stressed that the debut would happen in the current fiscal.
“Roughly, JSCA’s calendar sees around 435 domestic matches, which is now being increased to 507. Besides hosting international ties and other BCCI fixtures, we are aiming to host zonal matches too. A new U-25 championship is a move in that direction,” said association spokesperson Manoj Kumar, on the sidelines of a news meet on Sunday for the Champions League T20 that kicks off in Ranchi from September 22.
JSCA president Amitabh Choudhary told mediapersons that they were sanguine of having a packed stadium at Dhurwa during the maiden outing of Chennai Super Kings (CSK), led by M.S. Dhoni, next Sunday. “Those who missed Dhoni and his boys in action during the IPL in Ranchi will have a golden opportunity to do so now,” he said.
Team Mahi will play three matches of the total five allotted to the capital.
Actual ticket sale figures were not disclosed at the news meet because JSCA officials claimed they hadn’t yet received it. “But, seeing the turnout outside stadium counters today, we are expecting at least three matches to go houseful,” Kumar said.
Three of the four teams (see chart), which will be hosted at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Dhurwa till September 28, are arriving on Monday.
“Brisbane Heat, Titans and Chennai Super Kings will drop anchor in Ranchi from tomorrow. The Australian team (Brisbane Heat) will land at 1.55pm, the South Africans (Titans) at 3pm and CSK in the evening or at night. Trinidad and Tobago (West Indies) are expected on September 18 (Wednesday) morning,” the JSCA spokesperson said.
CSK skipper Dhoni has, however, arrived last week “for a vacation before the tournament”. Officials say he has been practising at JSCA’s indoor stadium and playing tennis almost every day to keep himself in form. On Saturday morning, Dhoni even dabbled in archery and watched Subroto Cup at Birsa Football Munda Stadium in Morabadi.
Kumar maintained that the teams would begin net practice from Monday. “Brisbane will hit the field from 5pm, while the others are likely to warm up from the day after,” he said.
On security arrangements for the high-octane matches, the JSCA official refused to disclose details, but said adequate personnel would be on duty to stave off untoward incidents. “All preparations are over and we are ready for a smooth and safe show,” he added.