BENGALURU : The South Africa A team, after having played their first ‘unofficial’ Test at Chinnaswamy Stadium a few days ago, are in action in the outskirts of the city at the KSCA ground in Alur. This venue is gradually becoming an important cricket destination in Bengaluru. Located 25 kms away from the main city, there are three grounds — Alur 1, 2 and 3 — spread across 34 acres, bought around 2003 at `2 lakh per acre when the late KM Ram Prasad was president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association. Soon after, the BCCI started looking for land in the city for the National Cricket Academy. “BCCI insisted that the KSCA selected land for them. We bought this land for KSCA.
We were initially planning to keep some of it for NCA, but they did not approach us after that,” KSCA secretary Sudhakar Rao told Express. After procuring the land, it took seven years or so to convert it into a field. The first official match was played in 2011. Since then, it has hosted over 100 domestic matches across different categories. An Australian academy team trained here. The India U-19 team had a three-week camp in Alur before going to New Zealand earlier this year. The facilities have received praise from several quarters. Players like the lush outfield.
The pitch provides bounce and carry. “I loved the ground and the pitch is a proper cricketing one. I had been here for the KSCA tournament two years ago. But now, it looks like an international venue,” said India A’s Ankit Bawne, who scored 80 on Friday. However, there are no stands for spectators. The KSCA makes temporary arrangements during matches. “Fans do not turn up in great numbers. It’s up to 500-1500 to 2500 and for that, what we do is enough.
Women’s matches are up next,” said Rao. With three grounds at its disposal, the KSCA can hold two matches simultaneously. Besides the India A match, the K Thimmappaiah Memorial final also started on Friday, at the KSCA 2 ground. No wonder, the BCCI wants to have more matches here. “We have three grounds in Alur, besides Chinnaswamy.
Any major domestic tournament can be played in Bangalore. The BCCI wants to conduct U-19 and other competitions involving 7-8 teams, which can be held in one centre. We provide it here,” added Rao. After the India A-South Africa A match, the venue will stage the women’s T20 Challenger Trophy from August 14 to 21, followed by the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-dayers. Brief scores: India A 322/4 (GH Vihari 138 n.o, A Bawne 80) vs South Africa A.