A major controversy erupted in the last league match of the Punjab inter-district under-19 cricket tournament for Dhruv Pandove Trophy: Chandigarh, who finished second, alleged that match referee Ankur Kakkar and umpires robbed them a chance of winning the title after calling off their match, played against Mohali at the Sector-16 cricket stadium, as early as 10:30am due to rain.
For the record, Amritsar were crowned champions with 23 points. The winners garnered three points against Patiala on the basis of first innings lead, while Chandigarh had to remain content with one point against Mohali as first innings could not be completed. Chandigarh finished with 22 points.
Chandigarh Cricket Association (CCA) secretary Mohinder Singh said that he urged the umpires to wait a little longer at least till lunch. “But in the end, the trio (match referee and umpires) stuck to their decision,” he said.
In a rain-marred match, Chandigarh finished the previous day on 158 for the loss of four wickets and needed another 118 runs to surpass the Mohali’s first innings total of 275. No sooner the decision was made and match was called off, sun broke the thick cloud cover and it was warm and balmy till the evening.
A CCA official who didn’t want to be named said that at least the match officials should have given the ground staff and the home team a chance to play, “Had they waited and even if two or three hours of play was possible at least it would have given both the teams, especially Chandigarh, an opportunity to go for the first innings lead. It could have gone either way but at least we would have had the satisfaction of trying,” the official said.
He further added that as per rules the match could be played till 5:30pm, and with sun out and the venue being a place that has hosted international matches in the past, along with numerous first class matches, it is highly unlikely that the ground staff couldn’t have managed to squeeze in few hours of play.
“All that was needed was a little bit of farsightedness and patience from the officials,” the CCA official added.
CCA secretary Mohinder said he hoped Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) will call an explanation from the erring officials.
“There is no point in giving a complaint. As per the tournament rules there is no possibility of match being replayed. We could have been the Punjab under-19 champions,” Mohinder added.