Cricket is akin to religion in India, with matches played in every corner of the country. The BCCI aims to host international cricket in each state, yet one region is conspicuously absent – the state of Bihar.
Bihar was once a formidable cricket hub. The Moin-ul-Haq Stadium in Patna hosted international stars, with the last ODI held there in 1996 between India and Pakistan. But politics and neglect have kept Bihar cricket in exile for 27 years.
The 45,000-capacity Moin-ul-Haq Stadium, built in 1992, has severely deteriorated due to lack of upkeep. It no longer meets standards for hosting major matches. Other stadiums in Bihar also require extensive renovations.
Furthermore, the BCCI has shown little enthusiasm for reviving cricket in the state. Neighbouring regions like Jharkhand and Odisha have received greater attention and hosted many matches in recent years.
For Bihar to re-establish itself as an international cricket destination, substantial investments in stadium infrastructure are crucial. Local administrators must also demonstrate passion and drive to convince the BCCI of Bihar’s potential.
The Moin-ul-Haq hosted its first ODI in 1993 between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. The last match was in 1996 – an ODI between Kenya and Zimbabwe.
The stadium was constructed in 1969-70 but has badly deteriorated over the decades. Expensive equipment bought years ago now lies as junk due to neglect.
At one time, 25,000 spectators packed into the stands. But broken infrastructure means virtually no crowds come anymore.
Generation after generation of Bihar cricketers are now playing for other states, with no home stadium to represent their state.
Politics has also played a big role in sidelining Bihar cricket. Infighting within the Bihar Cricket Association and friction with the BCCI have increased over the years. Bihar was excluded from the Ranji Trophy until 2004 due to administration issues.
For Bihar cricket to regain its lost lustre, substantial investments and political will are required. The latent passion for cricket in Bihar needs an outlet. Hopefully, in the future, Bihar can emerge from the cricketing wilderness and stage international matches once again.
Here are some notable cricketers from Bihar who have represented India in international cricket:
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni – Arguably India’s greatest captain and wicketkeeper-batsman. Dhoni was born in Ranchi, Jharkhand which was part of Bihar earlier. He has played 90 Tests, 350 ODIs and 98 T20Is for India.
- Ishan Kishan – Wicketkeeper-batsman who has played 10 ODIs and 19 T20Is for India.
- Kirti Azad – An all-rounder who played 7 Tests and 25 ODIs for India in the 1980s.
- Mukesh Kumar – A fast bowler who recently made his India debut.
- Saurabh Tiwary – Middle-order batsman who has played 3 ODIs for India.
- Subroto Banerjee – As mentioned earlier, a fast bowler who played 19 Tests in the 1960s/70s.
- Ajay Sharma – A middle-order batsman who played 2 Tests and 31 ODIs in the late 80s.