What’s the story?
West Indies are to tour India for a five-match ODI series in November, 2018. Kerala was to host one of the ODIs at the Greenfield Stadium located in Thiruvananthapuram, as per the allotment of venues from the BCCI Tours and Fixtures Committee.
However, recent pleas from the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) to try and host the series in Kochi has been sanctioned to them a few days ago – resulting in the overlooking of the initially appointed venue. Local fans in the capital of the state and various important personalities have not adapted too well to this alteration.
Shashi Tharoor took to his Twitter account after speaking with the BCCI Committee of Administrators Chief, Mr. Vinod Rai and revealed that the matter will be reviewed.
In case you didn’t know…
The Kaloor Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi was recently approved football-ready on international standards by FIFA following which it was announced as one of the venues to host the FIFA-U17 World Cup matches. The renovation of the stadium was directed by the governing body itself as a part of preparations to host the country’s first ever FIFA event.
The authorities at FIFA had ensured the young guns participating in the tournament received the very best. The planning of the grass ground included a structure for a full-fledged drainage system to avoid flooding during rains. The playing surface was revamped with freshly installed turf grass as part of the whopping ₹25 crore worth of refurbishment at the stadium.
The heart of the matter
An imperative apprehension has been raised by the fans including a number of important personalities, regarding the digging up of the ground to relay cricket pitches at the JNI Stadium in Kochi, damaging a beautifully built football field.
KCA’s stance on the matter is that both the International venues in Kerala should get the privilege to host matches. Since the last international fixture was played at Greenfields [T20 between India and New Zealand in 2017, the KCA is keen on hosting the West Indies game in Kochi’s Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium.
A campaign has been initiated against the damaging the new grass turf of the JNI Stadium in Kochi and has received an abundance of steam across social media platforms.
While football was just gaining its popularity and development in the country, it is decisions such as these that keep the bandwidth of the development of a sport apart from cricket to develop in our nation.
An objective for renovation was to ensure that the turf in Kochi can be converted from time to time to accommodate both the sports without major hiccups but hosting a cricket match amid a football season (considering ISL 2018/19 season would commence in October) is nothing short of bizarre and does not seem prudent at all.Published 20 Mar 2018, 13:49 IST