Former Indian cricket board secretary SK Nair Sunday hit out at the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) after the first one-day international of the three-match series between India and Australia at Kochi's Nehru Stadium was abandoned due to a wet outfield.
Nair said that the KCA failed to make the required arrangements in the wake of the rains and the drainage system at the ground was poor.
"This cancellation following the rains is going to raise serious questions on the future of this ground which is the home venue for the new Kochi IPL team. The need of the hour now is that the KCA should now campaign with the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) for another international match," said Nair.
Nair's close aide Ajith Kumar, a former KCA secretary, was also critical, saying that since it rains during this time of the year, the state body could have exchanged this match with other state association and got another one to be staged sometime in March-April.
"The organisers made a blunder when they saw clear skies a week back and did not do a responsible job because there were days when they left the ground uncovered. Never before has rain washed out any previous matches, even though there was instances when it rained on the previous day and on the match day, in the previous years," said Kumar.
The organisers toiled hard to get the ground in shape, but a morning downpour dampened the spirits and forced the organisers to call off the match without a ball being bowled. The Nehru Stadium is the only cricket stadium in the state to host international matches and Sunday's abandoned match was the seventh in the last 12 years.
"If you look at other ODI venues which are this old, all of them have gone on to host Test matches. This match would have been the ideal launch pad to showcase the home venue of the new Kochi IPL team and mind you, five of the six owners of the Kochi IPL team hail from Mumbai and Ahmedabad. With today's debacle, they would use this to even shift the home venue from here to elsewhere," added Kumar.
KCA secretary TC Mathew felt there has been a conspiracy hatched by some to play spoilsport in organising the match.
"These comments are being raised by those who have been thrown out of KCA. These are nothing but cheap comments. What should be noted is that some people who had enjoyed the hospitality provided by us and now throwing stones at us. Just like Suresh Kalmadi was attacked ahead of the CWG, I am being unnecessarily targeted," said Mathew.
The KCA later held an emergency meeting in Kochi and also decided to refund the money to ticket holders.
KCA was expecting to make huge profits, but now will lose more than Rs 10 million that had been spent on organising the match.
Meanwhile, MC Josephine, chairperson of the Greater Cochin Development Authority (which owns the stadium), said that it was only last week that the drainage work at the ground was completed.