Dindigul, Theni, and Hosur might feature as venues for Tamil Nadu’s home fixtures in the Ranji Trophy next season.
R.I. Palani, joint-secretary, Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA), said there were plans to host Ranji games in at least one or two — if not all — of the aforementioned avenues. It was in 2005 that Tamil Nadu last played a home Ranji match outside Chennai (in Tirunelveli versus Gujarat). In the past, Tamil Nadu has also played its home games in Coimbatore, Tiruchi and Salem.
Dindigul hosted the C.K. Nayudu Trophy game between Tamil Nadu ‘A’ and Punjab ‘A’ which concluded on Thursday. The ground is located on the premises of the N.P.R. College of Engineering and Technology, 30 kilometres from Madurai.
In August, India batsman Gautam Gambhir inaugurated the turf wickets on the ground, a first for Dindigul. “We have asked the N.P.R. College authorities (who own the ground) for a full-fledged pavilion. Apart from that, the facilities there are on par with those at IIT-Chemplast or IC-Guru Nanak,” said Palani.
The TNCA Academy grounds, situated at Thappugundu near Theni, also have turf wickets. “It doesn’t rain in Dindigul and Theni at the start of the Ranji season. The grounds are picturesque and the pitches are good.”
The only concern in Theni is the paucity of good hotels in the vicinity to accommodate the teams.
“I hear there’s a good resort near Theni. I will inspect the venue during the under-19 match between Tamil Nadu and Mumbai in December,” said Palani.
Hosur, where Tamil Nadu’s pre-Ranji Trophy camp was held recently at the Adhiyamaan College of Engineering, was also a good option, according to Palani. “The ground there used to be small but has now been expanded.”
The TNCA has also plans to develop three more grounds in Chennai which would be used for — besides its academy — age-group matches and senior competitions.
“The idea is to acquire grounds from colleges for a lease period of 15 years with a budget of Rs. 3-4 crore for each ground,” said Palani.