Caught between the Congress-ruled government, the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) and the Rajasthan State Sports Council (RSSC), the Sawai Mansingh Stadium stadium, which was till recently rated among the top four cricket grounds in India, now lies in a shambles.Adding to the ignominy is the fact that now the ground will not host the Irani Trophy match scheduled to take place between September 21 and 25. BCCI Grounds and Pitches Committee chairman V. Sundaram inspected the ground on September 8 and declared the stadium unfit for the match.The ruling has deprived the home team – which had won the Ranji Trophy twice in a row and were to face the Rest of India in the match – of the benefit of playing on home turf.The Sawai Mansingh Stadium stadium, which was till recently rated among the top four cricket grounds in India, now lies in a shambles.Last month, the RSSC had taken over the ground and had barred the RCA from carrying out any maintenance work at the stadium. The council is headed by Shiv Charan Mali who enjoys the status and facilities of a minister of state thanks to his proximity to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.Ever since Mali took over two years ago, the council’s questionable decisions, such as locking the gates for cricketers prior to crucial practice sessions, denying entry to trucks bringing repair material etc, have led to the once internationally known stadium to become the laughing stock of the cricketing fraternity.Even though the local media and the RCA had warned that preventing routine repair works from being carried out at the stadium would result in the ground being declared unfit for the Irani Trophy match cut no ice with Gehlot’s men. Incessant rains necessitated that the ground be taken care of in a professional manner. However, that didn’t happen. The ground was handed to the RCA a little before the inspection was to be carried out. By then the “unfit” verdict for the stadium was a foregone conclusion.advertisementThough Mali is being blamed for this fiasco, the RCA, headed by CP Joshi, the union surface transport minister, is not doing any wonders either. Joshi has been unable to decide if he wants to run it professionally or just remain a figurehead. A non-entity, KK Sharma, a junior officer with the state government, is the RCA secretary. Like Mali, he isn’t also known for his vision or professionalism either.While Joshi and Gehlot remain at loggerheads due to state politics, Mali is busy queering the pitch for Joshi. In turn, Joshi’s indecisiveness has added to the RCA and thus cricket’s misfortune.Amid all this, cricket lovers are recalling the times when BJP’s Vasundhara Raje was chief minister and under her patronage Lalit Modi had helped bring the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on par with international standards.With the Irani Trophy cancelled, the biggest losers amid all this is the Rajasthan home team and the cricket lovers.