Services no-show stumps Valley, earns Ranji ban
The Services cricket team on Tuesday failed to turn up for its Ranji Trophy match against Jammu and Kashmir in Srinagar, citing security reasons. The decision led to the team being banned from this year's tournament.cricket Updated: Nov 03, 2009 23:42 IST
This is one pullout that has not gone down well with anyone and has a lot of people angry.
The Services cricket team on Tuesday failed to turn up for its Ranji Trophy match against Jammu and Kashmir in Srinagar, citing security reasons. The decision led to the team being banned from this year's tournament.
The no-show by the forces, responsible for maintaining peace in the state, had Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (J&KCA) chief Farooq Abdullah livid.
"Services have negated what the prime minister, defence minister and home minister have said: Kashmir is normal," Abdullah, who is also a Union minister, said.
The episode, said Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, had put a question mark over the army's proclaimed successes in the region.
"Army has made tall claims about its successes in the state against the militant groups. The incident clearly shows the double-standards of the armed forces operating here."
At present, 300,000 security personnel are stationed in the state.
Abdullah said he would take up the matter with the prime minister and home minister.
"Such an act is clearly an indication that some people don't want normalcy in the state. When the team of armed forces refuses to play a match citing security concerns, what message will it send across," Abdullah, a former CM of the state, said.
He along with the team and officials waited for the Services players at the Sher-e-Kashmir stadium, hosting a Ranji game after five years, for over an hour.
Around 10 am, match observer Balbir Singh sent his report to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and within few hours, the Services team was banned.
"Services is (sic) saying Kashmir is not normal. To hell with them for that...They want us to burn all the time so that they can remain our masters," a livid Abdullah said.
The Services had written to the BCCI three days ago seeking a change in venue, but were turned down,J&KCA general secretary Saleem Khan said.
The players, too, were disappointed. "We held a camp here for a week. It's absolutely safe. We don't know why they didn't turn up," said Vinayak Manik, the team captain.
The forfeiture gave the team four points and it will now take on Haryana at the same venue from November 10 to 13.
Late in the evening, Services apologised to the BCCI for forfeiting the tie and asked for fresh dates to play the game in Srinagar.