IS THE state government trying to make bridges with the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA)?
To the surprise of sportspersons, specially cricketers and cricket administrators in particular, the State Government has decided to honour Ranji Champions Uttar Pradesh on November 21. UP became champions for the first time in 72 years of Ranji history. The government had asked the UPCA to send the names of UP team members who are to be honoured.
Going back to the tussle, it was UPCA which had taken a strong stand against the controversial Sports Act and had moved court against it.
The state government subsequently reacted by withdrawing the ground allotment permission from the Cricket Association of Lucknow (CAL) for hosting the All India one-day final at the Babu Stadium at the last minute. UP team was one of the finalists. Two senior sports officers were suspended on this issue for allotting the stadium to CAL, for no fault of theirs (Later the government back-tracked, telling the media that actions were taken for other reasons).
The final match was shifted to Mumbai (It was also the benefit match for Jasbir Singh, who had represented UP in many Ranji matches besides representing the Central Zone).
“Now, honouring the Ranji champs is nothing short of humiliation,” Jasbir told Hindustan Times.
Jasbir has urged the UPCA to boycott the function and to prevail upon the players to follow suit.
“Self respect comes first. Who would want to accept such honour,” he fumed.
Jasbir charged the state government of organising the function with a political motive. “There is politics behind this so called honour from this opportunist government,” he claimed.
CAL secretary KM Khan supported Jasbir's views. However, a senior official of UPCA Prem Dhar Pathak confirmed that he would be accompanying the team for the felicitation function.
Meanwhile, Principal Secretary Sports Sri Krishna said that cheques for honouring the players were ready long time back, but due to the hectic schedule of the cricketers, the function could not take place.
Four UP players Kaif, Raina, Chawla and RP Singh would get Rs 5 lakh each for representing India, while remaining members of the winning team would get Rs 1 lakh each.