After a break of nine months, cricket will return to St Bede’s ground in Mylapoe as part of the restart of the lower division matches in the TNCA league next Friday December 25.
With the outbreak of the pandemic early this year, the lower division matches relating to 2019-’20 had to be put on hold in March this year.
The TNCA has put in place a safety document for the umpires and players to follow during the matches.
Chairman of TNCA umpiring committee and a top BCCI umpire, J R Madanagopal says he is hopeful of seeing some cricket in the grounds in Mylapore starting next week “It has been a long wait for the cricketing fraternity but finally we are hopeful of seeing some cricket. The umpiring committee of the TNCA has put in place safety precautions that will assist in the smooth conduct of the matches in these testing times.”
Former umpire Ramji Sitaraman, who played for IOB in the 1960s, is now the one who posts umpires for matches in the TNCA league. He is upbeat on the early feedback received from the umpires over the last 24 hours “ All the umpires seem to be comfortable to officiate in the matches and no umpire has expressed concerns so far. We have advised the umpires to wear a mask during the duration of the match and have also asked them to bring their own breakfast and lunch.”
Aravind Srinivasan, who played first division cricket in the 1990s, now captains a lower division team in the TNCA league. He has also been a cricket coach for many years now.
His team comprises many youngsters with most of them aged below 20. He sees the resumption of league matches as a positive development but is finding the players’ parents still treading with caution “In the larger interest, it is important to start playing matches. At some point there has to be a start. We have to look forward to life with positivity.”
It indeed will be a different atmosphere when the players and umpires walk into the St Bedes ground next Friday. One will have to wait and watch as to how these matches unfold the next weekend.
Madanagopal, Ramji and Aravind are all residents of Luz Apartments on Luz Church Road.
- Report by S. Prabhu