As India play Australia on Tuesday at the ACA-Barsapara Cricket Stadium, it will see Guwahati host its first international match in seven years.
The tickets have been sold out for the 37,000 capacity stadium, according to an Assam Cricket Association (ACA) top official, but it would not be enough to pay off the huge loan that it took to build the international facility.
Tuesday’s match will be Barsapara’s first international game after an International Cricket Council (ICC) panel, led by Javagal Srinath, gave its nod to the new stadium.
“Before that a BCCI panel including acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary and the then general manager of cricket operations MV Sridhar visited Barsapara Stadium in April. They pointed out 24 shortcomings. We needed Rs.16 crore to mend those. While we collected Rs.10 crore from various sources, we had to take Rs.6 crore loan from a bank,” ACA vice-president Debojit Saikia told Hindustan Times.
However, he added that the gate-money from ticket sales in the first match will not be enough to recover the loan amount.
“Though the tickets have been sold out, we are not expecting to get an approximate amount of more than Rs.8 crore. But after GST and several other expenses, our actual income will be far less. We will need more time to pay off the loan,” he said.
Saikia added that an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise’s team director will be visiting the Barsapara stadium during the India-Australia T20I, though he did not reveal the name of the outfit.
“The team director of the franchise will be present during the match. We are aiming to host at least three IPL matches in April. Several teams are interested in exploring the opportunity to host their matches here,” he said.
“The idea is to show our capability to host big matches. In future, we are hoping for an ODI match.”
All has not been well with Assam cricket of late. While non-compliance with Justice RM Lodha-panel’s constitutional reform recommendations meant that it has stopped receiving funds from the BCCI, the national cricket body’s Deloitte audit report observed several cost over-runs by the ACA in the construction of the stadium.
Saikia said that they are seeking clarification on some points of the Lodha panel’s recommendations.
“We are filing a miscellaneous application and the hearing is on October 30. Our stand is that in the original judgement of July 18, 2016, there are some major contradictions. In sixth paragraph they have written that Lodha committee’s recommendation regarding composition of association is not applicable to state associates. Then subsequently they said that all the office-bearers must follow qualification norms. We are seeking clarification on this point from the honourable Supreme Court and they are reviewing the July 18, 2016, judgement.”