Assam Cricket Association
Hairdryers being used to dry up a soaked pitch on Sunday

The dream of cricket-loving people to witness exciting IPL matches in Guwahati is now caught in a complicated legal battle.

Rajasthan Royals co-owner Manoj Bedale had announced on November 6 last year in Guwahati that the team opted for Guwahati as one of their home venues for IPL 2020.

The Rajasthan Royals team wanted to have at least two of its IPL matches at the Bhupen Hazarika Cricket Stadium in Guwahati.

Even the Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed recently that Guwahati will host three IPL matches.

Though Guwahati does not have its own IPL team, matches of Rajasthan Royals could have been exciting because local boy Riyan Parag is a star middle-order batsman of the team.

The BCCI Governing Council is likely to take the final decision on the fixture of IPL 2020 soon.

IPL 2020 is scheduled to get underway on March 29, and the final is scheduled on May 24.

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Now, it is almost certain that Guwahati will not be a venue for IPL matches.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Rajasthan High Court over shifting of matches from Jaipur to Guwahati.

Three petitioners – Rahul Kanwat, Vimal Chand Choudhary and Yogesh Kumar – approached the Jaipur bench of the high court, claiming that shifting of matches outside Jaipur “would be disrespectful to the state”.

The management of Rajasthan Royals has sought a short adjournment to the hearing to file the reply. The matter has now been listed for February 13.

Moreover, a section of members of BCCI’s Governing Council are also not in favour of having any IPL match in Guwahati, sources said.

The members are not happy with the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) following the disgraceful wash-out of the India-Sri Lanka T20I match on January 5 in Guwahati.

The first T20I match of the India-Sri Lanka series had to be abandoned because of a “school boy error” by the ground staff of the Assam Cricket Association.

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Mamon Majumdar, member of BCCI’s Governing Council was in Guwahati for the first India-Sri Lanka T20I match when ACA ground staff tried to dry the popping crease with steam iron, vacuum cleaner and hair dryers.

BCCI Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel is also reportedly not convinced with the ground conditions of the Guwahati stadium, and the lack of preparedness of the Assam Cricket Association.

The BCCI members are also worried that beginning of April, Assam is likely to witness Nor’westers or the Bordoichila, a heavy local rain fall and thunder storm.

And, after the faux pas by the Assam Cricket Association at the last T20I match, the fear of the Bordoichila, and the legal complications is sure to ruin Guwahati’s prospect for IPL matches.

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Anirban Roy

Anirban Roy is Editor-in-Chief of Northeast Now. He can be reached at: editor@nenow.in