The onset of the 2023-24 Ranji Trophy marked a major turnout at Patna’s Moin-ul-Haq Stadium, a venue formerly frequented by World Cup games in 1996. Home team Bihar impressed the crowd by reducing the 41-time champions Mumbai to 235 for 9 in their Elite Group B fixture this season.
A major controversy emerged on the sidelines during this match, with the Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) locked in a battle with its suspended ex-secretary Amit Kumar. Kumar had chosen his own squad to take the field. There were reports of two teams being prepared, but only the BCA’s “official” team was allowed to play. Chaos outside the stadium gate resulted in an alleged attack by a furious Amit on an official.
The BCA released a statement alleging that its OSD Manoj Kumar had been attacked by the “fake” team members. Those responsible have been identified, and action will be taken against them. Amit was once part of BCA president Rakesh Tiwary’s faction that won the BCA elections, allowing him to compete in senior domestic competitions. However, his relationship with Tiwary soured in 2022, resulting in his suspension. Consequently, any teams formed by him on paper are considered invalid.
In a noteworthy move, Bihar handed a debut to 12-year-old Vaibhav Suryavanshi, becoming the youngest Indian first-class debutant since 1986. Suryavanshi, a left-hand batter, was also being considered for India’s Under-19 team.
The stadium’s condition was also a cause for concern, with spectators walking past posters warning them of potential hazards. Plans are in place to revamp the stadium, with full hope of restoring its old glory soon.