With the BCCI earning millions of dollars and talking about multiplying its income, one would expect conditions in domestic cricket to improve. A look at the condition of the North Zone team here for the Duleep Trophy final against Sri Lanka A beginning on Sunday suggests otherwise.
The team, including Test players like Ashish Nehra, Aakash Chopra and Gautam Gambhir, has been put up in a hotel that has probably never hosted a first-class team. Several players complained about the poor electricity and water supply but are set to spend the night before a crucial match in utter discomfort.
Conventionally, it's the duty of the host association - the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) in this case - to do the reservations for visiting teams. The CAB did so this time obviously without taking into account the problems players would face.
"North told us at the last moment that they would come here for the final. We didn't have adequate time to get them a better place," said a senior CAB official. This seems rather lame because it was known well in advance that two teams would be in town for the final.
"I have never had such an experience, after having been to many cities for first-class matches. You can hardly sleep," said a player. "We have had frequent power cuts, no air-conditioning in humid conditions, just a tubelight and fan working for the most. We didn't deserve this a day before what is virtually an India-Sri Lanka game," fumed another.
The Sri Lankans are staying at a reputed five-star hotel. Their reservations were also done by the CAB, which said it couldn't arrange a proper place for North because most hotels were full with the crowd that is here for the Asian Youth Football Championship and a film festival.
The BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty told HT it boiled down to logistics and a problem of coordination between the associations involved.
"We give each travelling zone Rs 2 lakh per match for the boarding and lodging of players. It is then up to the zone in question to get in touch with the host association."
So by this logic, North Zone too is to blame for approving the hotel in question. Shetty said in the case of Sri Lanka A, a foreign team, protocol required that the BCCI see that it was put up in a four or five-star hotel.