The royal families of Rajasthan are seeing red. The reason: Board of Control for Cricket in India's recent decision to shift four home matches of the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) to Ahmedabad.
"I am hurt to know that IPL matches will not be held in Rajasthan," Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur told The Economic Times. Any another tournament could well be shunted out of the state, he adds. A member of one of the state's most prominent royal families only said, "It's unfortunate that Rajasthan is being ignored." She did not wish to be named.
Cricket has always been of personal interest to the royal families, and the latest decision comes as a blow to the image of the state as being capable of hosting the matches. Last week, the BCCI and Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) were engaged in a bitter battle over the decision to shift the matches to Gujarat.
Brij Raj Singh Rathore, whose family ruled Kishangarh, is also pained by the decision. Rathore has played in the Ranji Trophy among other tournaments. In the inaugural season of the IPL, when the Rajasthan Royals team emerged as an underdog to win the tournament, he was there in the spectator's stands. "Even now we send students from our schools in Kishangarh to watch the home matches," he says, wistfully. The situation was inevitable, says Mewar, as RCA did not follow what BCCI asked it to do.
Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur agrees. The BCCI and Union home ministry had asked states to give a security assurance, he says. "The Rajasthan government may have had their reason for not responding before the matches were declared, while the Gujarat government gave their assurance well in time," he adds, pointing out that the matches were shifted due to this uncertainty. The royals are particularly upset at the game's 'politicisation'.
Ambika Pratap Singh of Banswara, says any cricket lover would be disheartened to see how politics was killing sports. "The best of talent and opportunities should not be wasted due to external factors," he says.