Mayawati promises UPCA new ground

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> UPCA still does not own a cricket ground of its own but they seem to have struck a right chord with Chief Minister Mayawati.

Updated: November 14, 2007 19:06 IST
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The Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association or the UPCA can boast of several players who have made it at the international level in recent times, RP Singh, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar and Suresh Raina among them.

However, the UPCA still does not own a cricket ground of its own but they seem to have struck a right chord with Chief Minister Mayawati who has now promised them land for a brand new facility.

The UP Chief Minister was the guest of honour at the man of the match ceremony after the Kanpur ODI between India and Pakistan. Apparently, the state government machinery got into full swing after the invite was sent to CM Mayawati to make sure that the Green Park stadium was spruced up.

"We had a lot of co-operation from the administration, a lot of co-operation and support from Mayawati. Two of her principal secretaries came to the ground seven times to view each and every thing," said Premdhar Pathak, Secretary, UP Cricket Association.

In the past, the stadium has been in the news for many wrong reasons, a slow pitch, dilapidated facilities and general neglect. The UPCA has always said that their hands were tied because they did not own the stadium.

In fact, the condition of the ground has cost the UPCA several international fixtures. But now that the Chief Minister is on their side, UPCA seems all set to get a new stadium in Lucknow.

"She'll be giving us land to make an international ground. It will be UPCA's ownership, because only then will the BCCI give us Rs 30 crore. Now their conditions will start coming in. in fact, they had asked us how they are going to benefit from the free land that they give us," said Pathak.

"BCCI Vice-President Rajeev Shukla has said that they will make an enclosure of 5,000 for the CM and her officials."

A separate enclosure for the Chief Minister and other officials will of course mean lesser seats for the fans. In fact on Sunday, 60,000 people turned up at the Green Park even though the capacity is just 40,000.

It's quite surprising that an area as large as the former Uttar Pradesh has just one cricket association. The challenges ahead are many, like getting their own stadium and promoting the game at all levels so that more Kaifs', Rainas' and RP Singhs' can be produced.

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