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Mizoram to soon get a MCG-sized cricket stadium, says CM Lal Thanhawla

After Aizawl FC’s resurgence in the I-League and talented footballers coming out and making a mark from Mizoram, it could be cricketers, believes CM Lal Thanhawla, who spoke about plans of building a huge cricket stadium near the state’s capital

cricket Updated: Apr 26, 2017 20:23 IST
Mizoram cricket stadium,Lal Thanhawla,Aizawl FC
After the success of AIzawl FC in the I-League this year, Mizoram’s sporting prowess has been a topic of discussion and the state’s CM Lal Thanhawla believes a state-of-the-art cricket stadium will help bring out cricketing talent as well.(HT Photo)

The first step was a Supreme Court panel recommending that all the northeastern states are entitled to full affiliation and voting rights in the Indian cricket board. Now, Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla has unveiled plans for a stadium fashioned on Australia’s MCG -- one of the world’s largest -- as a precursor to producing world-class cricket players.

The state has seen a spurt in sporting activities of late, especially in football, with thesuccess of AIzawl FC in the ongoing I-League.

“Just close to the football ground in Sairang, there is a cricket stadium coming up, which is the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) that can host 100,024 visitors,” Lal Thanhawla, a five-time chief minister, who had represented undivided Assam during his school and college days in both football and hockey, said .

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Sairang is a 30-40 minute drive from state capital, Aizawl.

The ultimate aim, Lal Thanhawla, 74, said, was to produce world-class cricketers, especially after his state along with the other northeast states, got the Supreme Court nod on the Justice R.M. Lodha panel’s recommendations for full affiliation and voting rights.

“I have been fighting for full voting rights of Mizoram Cricket Association (MCA). The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) never did that but I am very happy that the Lodha panel has directed that all the northeastern associations are given full affiliation,” said Thanhawla, who is also the President of the MCA.

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Till now, only Assam and Tripura were affiliated to the board and could field teams for the Ranji Trophy and other BCCI-sanctioned tournaments.

“Right from Sharad Pawar’s time in the BCCI, when Arun Jaitley was the chairman of the affiliation board, I promised them that in five years I will produce world-class cricketers if given affiliation,” he added.

The Chief Minister said he had approached Pawar, the then BCCI President, on many occasions but had to return empty-handed every time.

But Lal Thanhawla felt the change in the national body’s constitution has given a new ray of hope to hundreds of talented cricketers who are ready to showcase their potenitial.

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Lal Thanhawla reiterated his stance on producing top class cricketers from the region, who according to him are gifted with a “big heart” and “courageous mind”.

“We can produce the best class cricketers in the country. Mizo boys are born with a great physique and in fielding we are very courageous. I have been to many local tournaments where I am impressed with the kind of talent we have.”

Known for speaking his heart out, the veteran politician alleged that many India players are so affulent that they do not want to risk themselves in the field.

“Indian cricketers are too rich, some are so much that they do not even want to throw themselves in the field. They are afraid of injuring themselves. You got to have a courageous mind.”

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“If you want to succeed in any area, be it sports or anything in life, you must approach it with a big heart. Mizo boys are courageous enough; they are not afraid of getting injured while fielding.”

Commenting on the growing menace of age fraud in various sporting disciplines, he said: “I have directed the sports bodies in my state not to try to cheat. That’s something very mean and cheap. You won’t attain anything big by cheating.”

First Published: Apr 26, 2017 16:49 IST