KATHMANDU, May 24: The inaugural match to be played at the Mulpani Cricket Stadium’s lower ground has been further postponed for Sunday as an inspection team found the venue unfit on Thursday.
The concerned authorities are given couple of more days to prepare the venue so as to make sure that any untoward incidents will not take place during the matches.
“It is taking longer time to prepare the pitch. The enclosed air under the surface will deteriorate the pitch if matches will be played without improving the current condition,” Subash Pradhan, president of Nepalaya International Pvt Ltd which is organizing the tournament under Nepal Sports Council (NSC), told Republica.
“If the venue isn’t prepared this time, I don’t think Mulpani will be able to host another national level match in next five years. We are trying our best to ready Mulpani,” he added.
The departmental head at NSC Min Kumar Sharma cited poor pitch behavior for the third postponement of the event. “Preparations were smooth but the pitch behaved inappropriately which is not fit to organize a national level event,” told Sharma.
The inter-provincial 50-over cricket tournament Prime Minister (PM) Cup’s Group B match was planned to be help at the ground whereas another Group B match between Province 2 and Tribhuvan Army Club at Tribhuvan University (TU) Cricket Ground will be played as scheduled in Kirtipur on Friday.
Member-Secretary of NSC Keshav Kumar Bista in a press meet held in Kathmandu earlier on Saturday had announced that the lower cricket ground at Mulpani will be hosting its first ever match on Friday.
Mulpani was set to host nine matches which are in dilemma after the venue was deemed unfit.
The radius of the boundary is shortened to 55 meters to avoid a private house situated within the venue’s perimeter. The decision was taken as the longstanding land dispute is yet to be resolved by the NSC.
“We have prepared two pitches for the tournament. The boundaries will be 55-60 meters,” Ajay Pandey, the pitch curator, told Republica.
Domestic matches are being organized in the upper ground of Mulpani for the last two years. While TU Cricket Ground, the only international cricket ground in Kathmandu, is said to be in urgent need of upgrade, bringing the Mulpani Cricket Stadium, which is taken as an alternative venue, into operation still remains a challenging task.
National cricket team captain Paras Khadka had earlier expressed satisfaction over the announcement that Mulpani ground was ready for matches.
Similarly, Member Secretary of the NSC Bista had echoed Khadka saying that the hosting of matches in itself is a progressive development.
Nepalaya had announced the new schedule (to be adjusted again), fixtures and prize money on Saturday.
The 50-over cricket competition was shortened to 15 days and will conclude on June 8. Earlier, the starting date of the provincial tournament was first postponed for May 22 despite the original plan to organize it from May 15 to June 8. The NSC’s decision to host the matches in Mulpani has been cited as the reason for the delays which has been delayed further.
PM Cup is set to be headlined by the Expert Education and Visa Services as its title sponsor for the event. Nepalaya had agreed to arrange Rs 9.5 million for the event which has a total budget of Rs 17.5 million. NSC will invest the remaining Rs 8 million.
Similarly, the cash prize of Rs 2 million has been announced for the winner of the tournament followed by Rs 1 million for the runner-up.
Likewise, the player of the tournament will receive a motorbike whereas the best bowler and the best batsman will receive Rs 50,000 each.
A total of 10 teams will participate in the Nepal’s biggest 50-over event which was won by Armed Police Force (APF) in the second edition whereas Army and Police shared the honors during its inaugural edition in 2017.