CHENNAI: Following the decision of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to let its facilities across the country be converted into temporary centres to fight the coronavirus onslaught, the cricket establishment of the country has said that it’s ready to follow suit, if approached. In different parts of the country, cricket stadiums have rooms or space which can be used for this purpose.
The BCCI doesn’t own any of these stadiums, as they are under the respective state associations. But if the central or state governments consider them to be useful, the board is willing to cooperate. Till Sunday, there was no news of any association being approached in this regard.
"If the government wants to use these stadiums to set up temporary quarantine centres or testing centres, the BCCI will ask the state associations to do what they can. In this time of crisis, we will be happy to play our part in countering the situation. Logistically, I can’t say for sure how exactly this can be done. But we are ready if we are needed," BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal told this daily on Sunday.
While cricket grounds may not be the best place to set up temporary centres, most of the new stadiums in India have space inside the premises, which can be utilised. In some places, there are rooms and some of the state associations also have dormitories and hostels. With all cricketing activities suspended, these are not being used at the moment.
John Manoj, secretary of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, said they have rooms at the stadium in Uppal. "It’s the HCA’s apex council which has to take the call. But if the government wants, we will in all likelihood offer what we can. There are corporate cabins at the stadium which can be used. It’s up to the authorities to decide if and how they want to use the space."
The Andhra Cricket Association has playing and training facilities including hostels in several parts of the state. It’s secretary V Durga Prasad said if the government wants, the association will send the details. "In three places we have arrangements for accommodation. Not that we have heard on this, but if need be we can make these things available," he said.
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association secretary RS Ramasaamy and Karnataka Cricket Association treasurer Vinay Mruthyunjaya also said that they would be acting accordingly if approached. Sreejith Nair, secretary of the Kerala Cricket Association, said they are yet to be approached.