Punjab Sports Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer on Friday wrote to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Roger Binny, urging him to allot a few World Cup matches to his state. India is set to play host to ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 later this year. In his letter to the BCCI president, the Punjab minister claimed that there was “no sense of fair play” in the scheduling of matches for the showpiece event.
“Punjab is renowned throughout the length and breadth of the globe for its age-old traditions of peerless bravery, unmatched hospitality and unwavering faith in secular ideals. This land of warriors blessed by Gurus, Saints, Philosophers, and Poets has nurtured the ideals of peace, compassion, and communal amity since the primordial times,” the minister wrote to Binny.
Making a strong argument for Punjab to host some of the matches in the forthcoming ODI World Cup, the minister said the state has given India some of its most famous and celebrated cricket stars in Bishan Singh Bedi, Mohinder Amarnath, Yashpal Sharma, Madan Lal, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Shubman Gill and Arshdeep Singh and has been a “frontrunner and flag bearer of the nation”.
“In the sporting arena too, Punjab has the distinction of being the frontrunner and flag bearer of the Nation. When it comes to the National craze i.e. Cricket, Punjab has the honour of producing legends viz., Lala Amarnath, Bishan Singh Bedi, Mohinder Amarnath, Yashpal Sharma, Madan Lal, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Reetinder Sodhi, Dinesh Mongia, Harvinder Singh, Vikram Rathore, Sharandeep Singh and the latest sensations Shubman Gill and Arshdeep Singh, the list is endless,” he stated in the letter.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader argued further that Punjab’s sports infrastructure has “rubbed shoulders with the best in the world”.
“The IS. Bindra Punjab Cricket Association (P.C.A.) stadium at Mohali has the distinction of playing host to 2 World Cup Semifinal ties, one in 1996 Wills World Cup and the other time in 2011 (Apart from two league encounters) besides 2 matches in the 2016 World T-20,” the minister added in his letter.
Earlier, in an exclusive interview with ANI, BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said Mohali, which is the only cricket stadium in Punjab to host international matches, does not meet the standards set by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport’s global governing body, and has hence not been allotted any World Cup matches.
Countering this claim in his letter to the BCCI chief, the minister called on the country’s premier cricket governing body to come clean on the criteria of the ICC that Mohali couldn’t meet. He also called on Binny to clarify if the ICC had sent a team to inspect and assess the facilities and infrastructure at the P.C.A stadium.
“I (Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer) want to know what the ICC criteria are based on which Mohali was considered ineligible for the match. Apart from this, any change made in the norms at present should also be brought to light as the India-Australia International T20 match was played in September 2022. Besides, ODI World Cup matches including two semi-finals were also played in the past. It should also be stated whether the ICC team visited the Mohali Stadium to inspect the standards?” the minister wrote.
He asserted that the P.C.A stadium at Mohali is “not only one of the top stadiums in India but also comes in the list of prominent stadiums in the world”.
Aense of fair play
“Mohali is always the first choice of cricket fans. Mohali has an international airport and the city also has better infrastructure and adequate hotels for the teams to stay,” he added.
“However, the schedule for the upcoming ICC World Cup-2023 to be held in October and November this year is sans any allotment of matches to Punjab which belies completely the sense of fair play,” he wrote further in his letter.
Urging the country’s top cricket governing body to rectify this “anomaly at the earliest”, the minister said “it would be in the interest of justice to allot a few encounters to Punjab and not leave it in the lurch”.
Voicing his misgivings over Punjab losing out on an opportunity to host World Cup matches, Hayer said earlier, “The exclusion of Punjab’s Mohali from the list of host cities for the tournament was due to political interference. Punjab government will raise this issue with the BCCI.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Topics mentioned in this article