What’s the story?
In the wake of the strike taken by employees of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), the title defenders Sunrisers Hyderabad may have to play all their home matches of IPL 2017 in Raipur, as per reports in the Telangana Today.
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Over 120 employees, including the groundsmen, have been on a strike since the first week of March citing non-clearance of salaries for two months as the issue. The financially handicapped HCA has been pleading the BCCI for release of money, but so far in vain.
John Manoj, the chief secretary of HCA was recorded saying that he had been writing letters to BCCI but he has got no reply.
The heart of the matter
Apart from the opening ceremony scheduled on April 5, the Rajiv Gandhi Cricket Stadium was to host eight matches, including the final on May 21. But this is not the first time that the IPL matches might be moved out of Hyderabad. Seven years ago in 2010, owing to the Telangana movement, the matches were shifted to Mumbai and Nagpur.
A report by BCCI observer Ratnakar Shetty revealed that the HCA incurred a loss of approximately Rs 44 lakh for hosting the one-off Test between India and Bangladesh. Ever since, the board has been in a financial crunch.
Work has come to a standstill at HCA. The decision of the groundsmen to abstain from duty is resulting in lack of preparation of the ground for the IPL matches. The HCA further blamed the BCCI for not releasing sufficient fund. The secretary said that even though the annual BCCI grant is Rs 50 crores, the HCA has received Rs 67 crores in three years.
Parallels from the past
Earlier this week, a couple of other matches in this year’s IPL were also rescheduled.
With the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) elections set to take place on April 22, the match between Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians on the same date will now be played at 8 pm instead of 4 pm, in Mumbai. This further led to the match between Rising Pune Supergiants and Sunrisers Hyderabad to be played at 4 pm of the same day.
Furthermore, Mumbai will play Delhi in the latter’s home ground on May 6, instead of the Wankhede, the original venue.
The minor changes in timings and venue are unlikely to affect any of the teams. But if Hyderabad are to play all their matches in Raipur, they will lose out on the ‘home advantage’ factor, and fans, who had lots to cheer about last year, will be greeted to forlorn pitches.
Hopefully the BCCI will release funds to the HCA, which can then clear all pending payments of its staff, and arrangements for the IPL can be made.