With the Indian team playing matches in neighbouring Mohali and Dharamshala, the Chandigarh Cricket ground in Sector 16 is feeling the pinch more than ever.
The Chandigarh Cricket Association (CCA) has been seeking affiliation from Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) since the past three decades. The demand was first raised in 1980. However, the governing body had turned down the demand, on the ground that the BCCI constitution does not provide for any Union Territory to be affiliated to it. As a result, Chandigarh doesn›t have a Ranji team of its own forcing the cricketers of the city to play forPunjab, Himachal Pradesh or Haryana.
Players from the city complain that the BCCI has been rigid on its stand. The CCA even filed a case against the decision last year. A day before India's win in Mohali in the ongoing series, members of CCA took out a candle light march in Chandigarh to demand BCCI affiliation.
The association claims that Chandigarh has produced great players like Kapil Dev and Yuvraj Singh.
While Kapil Dev, captain of the 1983 World Cup winning team had to play for Haryana, Yuvraj Singh, played for Punjab. Other players who have brought laurels to the nation, hailing from Chandigarh include Dinesh Mongia, Chetan Sharma, Ashok Malhotra, Yashpal Sharma, Uday Kaul, Simrat Baba, Mayank Vohra and VRV Singh.
According to Rakesh Jolly, a former Ranji player, "We have been seeking affiliation and it's high time the BCCI made some amendments to accommodate good performers from the city. The former CCA president, Colonel Ajit Singh Judge died last year, after pursuing the case for a long time."
During the candle march organized this Tuesday (January 22), CCA President, Pardeep Chhabra, said, "Chandigarh is still awaiting affiliation, even though it fulfils all the BCCI norms and the stadium here has also hosted national and international cricket matches". He added that three new states- Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand- have also received BCCI affiliation.
The coaches at the CCA claim that the stadium has been designed according to international standards. The last international match played here was in 2007 (India vs. Australia).
Apart from states, there are princely states which are also affiliated to the BCCI. So why not us?", exclaimed one of the coaches.
A majority of government and private educational institutions, along with about 80 cricket clubs, are affiliated with the UT cricket association. The BCCI currently has 30 member including three Central bodies and three non-playing members.