The Irani Cup, which will kick off the 2012-13 first-class domestic season, has been moved out of Jaipur, its originally designated host venue, after heavy rains made conditions "unplayable", according to Venkat Sundaram, the chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) grounds and pitches committee.
The Irani Cup, played between the Ranji Trophy champions – Rajasthan this year – and Rest of India, was scheduled from September 21-25 in Jaipur, but there had been a cloud over Jaipur's status as host even before rains lashed the ground. The Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) has been at loggerheads with the Rajasthan Sports Council (RSC) and only received possession of the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur with barely two weeks to go for the Irani Cup.
The RSC owns the ground and had locked its gates following a dispute with the RCA, which meant the outfield and pitch went untended. The subsequent heavy rains meant a lot of work needed to be done to ensure the ground was in a fit-enough condition to host the match.
While the outfield could still be brought up to scratch, the pitch – which had remained uncovered – is the main area of concern. Sundaram, who inspected the ground before giving his verdict, was reportedly concerned with the state of the pitch and thought it wouldn’t be possible for it to be ready in time for the match.
"It was saddening to note that Sawai Mansingh Stadium ground, which was voted the best in IPL, has deteriorated and looked shabby," Sundaram was quoted as saying by PTI. "There was a lot moisture of moisture in the pitch and the outfield too was in bad shape. I will have to intimate the BCCI that the match should be shifted to some alternative venue. It appears as if the ground needs at least six to eight weeks to get back in shape."
The BCCI has not yet announced an alternate venue for the Irani Cup.