NASHIK: In a country that preaches cricket, are the youth really prepared for the game? In an interview with TOI’s Chaitanya Deshpande, the president of Nashik District cricket association (NDCA), Vinod Shah talks about the Ranji Trophy match, to be organised here since December 7 and the association serving as a platform to aspirants to join different national and international level cricket teams.
Nashik is hosting the Ranji Trophy match after five years, tell us more.
Anant Kanhere Memorial Ground or Golf Club Ground was a preferred sight for the Ranji Trophy games between 2005 and 2011. The stadium has hosted over eight Ranji games. The last game held there was on November 17, 2011. After five years, we are again hosting the Ranji Trophy match between Uttar Pradesh and Baroda from December 7. Star cricketers such as Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Yousuf Pathan, and Hardik Pandya will be seen in action for the three-day match. I hope this match encourages the cricketing atmosphere in Nashik and North Maharashtra.
But, why did it take so long to host a match again?
There were technical hurdles that we were facing . Nashik comes under the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA). A MCA’s authorized stadium started in 2011 at Gahunje, near Pune. It was equally important that the MCA’s authorized stadium gain an international test cricket stadium which is why most of the Ranji games between 2011 and 2016 were held there. Finally, we got a chance to host one of the two matches under MCA’s jurisdiction, so we will make use of it.
What are the NDCA’s recent achievements?
Through talent search camps, we are trying to bring cricket to tehsils and villages. We are also providing aspirants with proper infrastructure and expert coaching. Our hard work and the aspirants’ determination has resulted in players from the district being selected for the Maharashtra team, at Ranji and even IPL level.
Do you think the T20 format is attracting more youths towards cricket?
Of course, there are aspirants who want to be a part of the T20 game. But, it is disappointing to see that these youths are discouraging the format. NDCA is committed to produce good quality cricketers.
By when can we expect a stadium of our own?
It will take a few years. Our aim is to produce an international cricketer first. Nashik deserves to have an international-level cricket stadium as we have the locational benefits, availability of water and infrastructure.