The Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) seems to be playing a waiting game. While trying hard to materialise its plan to build a Test venue on the Kanpur-Lucknow road, it is hoping to get the Green Park on lease — it paid Rs 50 lakh in rent for the ground for the India-Sri Lanka Test.
Initially, the UPCA had marked two areas to build a Test venue. Apart from the one mentioned above, it had also thought about one close to Bithoor, a tourist site. The latter plan, however, had to be shelved as it involved purchasing land from farmers. “The state government offered us a piece of land near Lucknow, but it is too expensive,” said UPCA media manager, I.M. Rohatgi.
If Rohatgi is to be believed, then the one they are targetting will cost Rs 70-75 lakh per acre. “The big problem is setting up of allied facilities. You need to have good hotels among other things. All this will add to the cost,” he said.
So, to minimise costs, the UPCA is desperately trying to get hold of the Green Park. The association boss, Rajiv Shukla, announced on Friday that he was looking to get the Green Park on lease. Although Shukla said it was because of the ground’s historical importance, Rohatgi admits that the huge money required for the
construction of the new ground and its neighbourhood would be saved.
The general talk in Kanpur is that the UPCA is waiting for the next assembly elections, due in two years, and is hoping that the Congress comes to power, which will help Shukla — a Congressman — to push the case for the lease.
Shukla’s announcement that there were plans to build a new ground, and his tie-up with Jaypee group to build an ODI venue by 2011, is also being perceived as a threat to the administration. “Give us the Green Park or there won’t be any international cricket”.