SOURCE: The New Indian Express, 13th September 2016

The Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) on Monday signed an agreement with Karyavattom Sports Facilities Ltd (KSFL), which operates the The Sports Hub Kariavattom, to conduct cricket matches at the venue until November 18, 2027.

As per the agreement signed by KCA secretary T N Ananthanarayanan and KSFL CEO K Sasidhar in the presence of KCA president T C Mathew and KSFL director Anilkumar Pandala, KCA can use the stadium for 180 days in a year (from October 1 to January 31 and April 1 to May 30). “Maintenance of the field will rest with KCA during the 11-year period. We will also share a minimum of 15 lakh, that can go up to 50 lakh, with KSFL for international matches played at the stadium till 2027,” Mathew said.

“It was in 1989 (India vs West Indies) that an ODI was last played in the city. We will start the work of laying the pitch in the next few weeks and hopefully will be able to host at least an ODI as well as IPL matches here this season,” Mathew added. Outside of the 180 days, KCA can use the stadium on other days by paying extra. A joint committee comprising three members each from KCA and KSFL will manage and monitor the activities during this period. “The laying of the pitch is expected to take 45 days and we will wait another three months to conduct games. We do not want to rush it and face a situation similar to the Delhi and District Cricket Association who were criticised for the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch,” Mathew added.

While the KCA president was wary of trying the concept of ‘drop-in’ pitches at The Sports Hub, KSFL is confident the technology can be used here. “Elaborate arrangements will have to be made and I think it will take years to bring in such a technology,” Mathew said. However, KSFL director Pandala said the mobile pitches are being considered. “We are 90 per cent sure that drop-in pitches will be used though discussions are still on,” he said.

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