Rangpo recce for cricket big league

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Gangtok
  • Published 4.05.05
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Gangtok, May 4: The Sikkim Cricket Association is looking to develop the Sikkim Mining Ground in Rangpo into a venue worthy of hosting domestic and international tournaments.

That is why a three-member panel from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), comprising former cricketer Russi Jejeebhoy, soil scientist Asit Mukherjee and pitch expert Prabir Laha, is in Sikkim at present. The committee will examine the feasibility of developing the ground in east Sikkim as a cricket stadium and help promote and popularise the game in the hill state.

The Sikkim Mining Ground only hosts the under-19 and under-14 matches of the Vijay Merchant Trophy and Cooch Behar Trophy at present. The BCCI officials, along with SCA president and state sports and youth affairs minister P.S. Gholey, today inspected the mining ground and the pitch. Speaking to The Telegraph, SCA officials said the panel was positive that the mining ground could be developed as a cricket stadium.

The multi-purpose ground, which belongs to Sikkim Mining Corporation, was handed over to the SCA three years ago to be developed as a cricket stadium. However, no development or construction activity has been undertaken since.

Officials of the cricket association here are hopeful that things will begin to roll, now that the BCCI team has arrived and inspected the ground.

The SCA, which is affiliated to the BCCI, has already prepared a blueprint of the stadium and handed over a proposal to the BCCI and the state government.

Speaking to reporters, Gholey said the BCCI team was here pursuant to a meeting held last year between then BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya and the SCA.

?At the meeting, we discussed with the board the ways in which cricket can be popularised in the state. This included training of Sikkimese cricketers to play at the national level and developing infrastructure,? he added.

Gholey also said the three-member team would look into the possibility of developing other grounds and pitches at Geyzing, Jorethang and other venues in Sikkim.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Aswin Oberoi, the vice-president of the SCA, said the ground could be a venue for first-class domestic as well as international cricket matches once the proposed stadium comes up.

He was also of the view that the stadium would be an ideal location for the national squad to acclimatise in because certain venues abroad have the same climate and soil conditions.