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Pitch monitors like what they see
- Test hopes brighten for JSCA stadium

After a crackling debut with back-to-back ODI matches and a T20 series last year, the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi has inched closer to the coveted recognition of a Test venue.

A three-member ICC-BCCI appointed committee, led by BCCI treasurer Anirudh Choudhary, formally inspected the cricket facility in Dhurwa on Wednesday and hailed the stadium as world-class.

“Everyone at BCCI is proud of the JSCA complex,” said Anirudh Choudhary, echoing willow legends like David Boon and Sunil Gavaskar who have visited in the past. The BCCI treasurer was accompanied by BCCI general manager (cricket operations) M.V. Sridhar and its director of broadcast services James P. Rego.

The team, after arriving in Ranchi on Tuesday evening, had briefly toured the stadium and held a closed-door meeting with JSCA officials who offered a presentation on player facilities and security among other things.

On Wednesday morning, the experts once again marched to the Dhurwa greens to inspect the pitch, lounges and broadcasting arrangements.

Currently, Test matches are held at 15 stadiums in cities like Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. However, these earlier defined centres have reached a point of saturation when it comes to spectator turnout.

According to the officials, everyone — from players to advertisers and broadcasters — is exploring newer options to reconnect the audience to Test cricket.

Given its architecture, pitch condition and amenities, insiders maintained that the JSCA complex had a strong chance of qualifying as a Test venue. Although Anirudh Choudhary didn’t make any such announcement, citing official protocol, he definitely hinted that Ranchi had the potential to become BCCI’s new Test centre.

“Personally, I am very impressed with all parameters. Our focus was mainly on the pitch and ground conditions; we assessed whether they can hold regular game up to five days; we also checked on broadcasting facilities, climate and arrangements for players and match officials. The JSCA has scored good,” the senior BCCI official said.

“On our return, we will submit our report and recommendations to BCCI. The board will take the decision it deems fit,” he added.

JSCA chief Amitabh Choudhary, who accompanied the inspection team to Dhurwa, sounded bullish.

“Successful hosting of ODI and T20 matches was testimony to our preparedness for international cricket. We are more than sanguine of bagging a Test match. During past meetings with the BCCI, I have strongly put our case. If it happens this year, then ours will perhaps be the only stadium in the country to host a Test match in quick succession of ODIs,” he said.

Will JSCA stadium qualify as BCCI’s new Test venue? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com