GSA league in for delay

Guwahati, Jan. 31: The Guwahati Sports Association's (GSA) first division cricket league is set for a delayed start this time as the Nehru Stadium has been booked for the Deodhar Trophy tournament.

The Deodhar Trophy fixture includes a quarterfinal between South and East zones on March 10, followed by the semi-finals on March 11 and 12 and the final on March 13.

The venue was shifted from Kochi yesterday.

"We have applied for the Nehru Stadium ground at the earliest so that it can be prepared properly for the national tournament. BCCI east zone curator Ashish Bhowmick will take charge of the ground as soon as the Board of Sports allots us the ground. Our curator Ratul Das and Mukut Kalita will assist him," ACA secretary Bikash Baruah said today.

The ACA has also booked hotels for the teams, which will comprise leading first class players of the country.

The national event, however, has spelt disaster for the GSA, which was planning to hold its first division cricket league next month.

Usually held in the months of January and February, the premier cricket league will either have to be held after the national fixtures or at another ground, as the stadium has been booked by the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) for the next one-and-a-half months for wickets and outfield preparation.

"We might have to hold it after March 13 or shift the venue to the Barsapara Stadium if the ACA permits us," GSA cricket secretary Bablu Choudhury said today.

The pitches at Barsapara Stadium, however, are being repaired and will be ready only after a couple of months.

Judges Field, too, has turf wickets but the cash-strapped association cannot afford the rent ' between Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,500 per day.

Though the Board of Sports of Assam also charges about Rs 5,000 per day for Nehru Stadium, GSA is traditionally allowed to use it free of cost or for a nominal fee.

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