JAIPUR: After two seasons, the IPL jamboree is set to return to the Pink City. Even though the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to give an official confirmation, the historic Sawai Mansingh Stadium is readying up to host the three homes games of Mumbai Indians.
With the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) suspended by the BCCI, there were initial doubts on whether the BCCI would finally allot the matches to Jaipur. But things were sorted out after the state government assured the board of full support. The fact that the stadium is owned by the state also helped the IPL governing council give a green light to the venue.
While the Mumbai franchise will only be making an official announcement on Sunday, the scenes at the SMS complex indicated that the matches are all set to be staged in the Rajasthan capital. Under the watchful eyes of curator Taposh Chatterjee, the groundsmen have been busy preparing the ground for the last couple of days. “The ground is in good shape, and there’s no problem in hosting the three matches. We are all ready,” Chatterjee told Express, adding that there’s still enough time to get things in order.
Going by the schedule, the first match is slated to be held on May 8, while the other two will be held on May 13 and 15 respectively. That gives both the franchise and the local organisers some time for preparation. However, there are chances that the board may reschedule the games by a day or two. “In the past too, we have worked in short time. This time, all the preparations are ready, and we are waiting for a final word from the Board,” Chatterjee said.
Sources in the BCCI also confirmed that the Mumbai franchise has already told the board about their keenness for Jaipur. “If the matches are held at the SMS, then there won’t be any logistical problems for Mumbai Indians. The fact that SMS is one of the best maintained grounds in the country also gave the franchise a lot of confidence,” the source claimed. Interestingly, the historic venue was adjudged the best ground for two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013. However, a tussle between the BCCI and RCA forced the then local franchise Rajasthan Royals shift games to Ahmedabad in the last couple of years.
It is also learnt that the BCCI has made it clear that the RCA won’t be allowed to play any role in hosting the matches. To ensure that things go smoothly, the state government is likely to form a special committee under the leadership of Rajasthan State Sports Council chief JC Mohanty to look after the daily affairs. “That would solve a lot of problems. For the last two years, the BCCI has been conducting Ranji Trophy matches here with the help of Sports Council. It would be no exception this time either,” a top official at the Sports Council confirmed.