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Rediff News  All News  » Cricket » Political slugfest mars day one of HP-Goa Ranji match

Political slugfest mars day one of HP-Goa Ranji match

Last updated on: October 27, 2013 17:46 IST

In a dramatic turn of events, the Ranji Trophy Group C match between Himachal Pradesh and Goa was cancelled but resumed later on Sunday after BCCI president N Srinivasan intervened to sort out a political tug of war.

The Ranji Trophy match was initially cancelled after the Congress-led state government took charge of the HP Cricket Association, which was controlled by opposition BJP MP Anurag Thakur, in a midnight coup on Dharamsala.

The match started after the state government ministers spoke to Srinivasan, who assured them of full cooperation in the matches at the venue.

Two Himachal Ministers, GS Bali and Sudhir Sharma said: "BCCI president Sirinivasan have a telephonic talk with us and after listening briefing of the situation have assured
co-operation for the conduct of board matches fixed for Dharamsala.

"This ground is now open to cricket, and all the scheduled matches including IPL shall continue as per time table."

The Kangra district administration took over the HPCA stadium as well as The Pavillion hotel in Dharamsala on Saturday night.

When contacted, Thakur, son of former Himachal Pradesh chief minister P K Dhumal, said the cancellation of HPCA land leases would be challenged in court.

District Sports Officer Mahender Pratap Bharadiya has been given charge of the stadium for the time being.

HPCA spokesperson Sanjay Sharma, who reached the spot after the official had entered the stadium, opposed the authorities by saying that the cricket body was not informed about the action on time. He also refused to receive the copy of takeover orders.

The authorities told the HPCA official that no activity could be undertaken

in the stadium without permission.

Later the authorities also took over The Pavilion hotel, and another HPCA stadium at Nadaun in adjoining Hamirpur district, which is also Thakur's constituency.

Dharamsala Cricket stadium was built in 2003, while The Pavilion hotel was built in 2011-12 by the HPCA under Thakur during the tenure of the earlier BJP governments. According to reports, the land for the resort was allotted to the HPCA for building "residential facilities for sportsmen".

Sources said that the midnight operation was conducted to avoid confrontation with the HPCA members and supporters. The Cabinet decided to take back and cancel the lease made in favour of the HPCA at Luhnu in Bilaspur, Nadaun in Hamirpur, Gumma in Shimla and Lalpani in Shimla.

The Vigilance Bureau has already registered two cases against HPCA. The Registrar Cooperative Societies has also issued a show-cause notice to the HPCA for converting itself from a society into a company.

After the resumption of the match finally at 3.00 pm local time, hosts Himachal Pradesh got off to a flying start against Goa.

Putting the administrative issues behind, HP opener Prashant Chopra made a strokeful 40 off 39 balls including six fours and a six after Goa won the toss and put the hosts in to bat.

At stumps on Day 1, HP reached 136 for two in 27 overs in their Group C encounter with Paras Dogra (45 off 80) and Abhinav Bali (43 of 41) at the crease.

Paras smashed eight boundaries and shared an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 81 runs with Bali, who hit a six and eight fours.

Brief scores:

Himachal Pradesh 1st innings: 136 for two in 27 overs (Paras Dogra 45 not out, Abhinav Bali 43 not out; Buddhadev Mangaldas 1/22).

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