SUBANG JAYA: Cricket enthusiasts are concerned over the imminent closure of the Kinrara Oval playing ground in Puchong, saying that there is no other field quite like the decades-old establishment.
Mohamed Yusri Rauf, spokesperson for some 10 cricket clubs and chapters, told reporters today many international tournaments had been held at the Kinrara Oval.
Last week, Astro Arena quoted the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) as saying they had been given notice to vacate the Kinrara Oval as its lease has expired.
The field, which was formerly a popular recreational ground for Kinrara residents before the cricket ground was built, is expected to make way for a shopping complex and condominium project.
Yusri today said although some may want to keep the cricket ground for sentimental reasons, it was more than just a home for cricket fans, clubs and trainees.
He said building a cricket stadium with a proper field was expensive and would take many years.
“Most of the national cricket players have grown up playing here. It’s the heart of cricket.
“A lot of youngsters and women are supporting us even today, including the Nepalis. Even the Royal Malaysian Air Force comes here.”
Yusri said the other fields for cricket in the state — the Bayuemas Oval in Pandamaran, Klang, and the one at the Royal Selangor Club in the city — are harder to access.
Since it opened its doors in 2003, the Kinrara Oval, a stone’s throw from the LRT station, has hosted several international cricket tournaments, including the DLF Trophy involving Australia, India and West Indies, and the 2008 Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
The 5,000-capacity stadium ground also hosted the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in August last year, when cricket was a medal event for the first time.
Shyam Sunder, Cyber Giant cricket club captain and cricket enthusiast, told FMT the Kinrara Oval was considered one of the best in Asia, even better than the grounds from his native country of India, which is world famous for cricket.
“Even expats from India come here and see how perfect and beautiful this field is. We have good facilities here as the ground is well maintained. The lighting is great and the dressing room and turf are all in good condition.”
Sunder said he had been bringing his son here since he was crawling, and now questioned where he would bring him and the team to play.
He said it was too far to play on other grounds.
“It will be very difficult to get international heroes to come and play in Malaysia any more. It’s a huge loss for the future generation, who will no longer be able to watch them play from the stands, even the national players. It’s a shame.”
Earlier, some 50 cricket players, supporters and cricket club chapters from around the country held placards to show their unhappiness over the expiry of the lease for the Kinrara Oval.
Astro Arena had quoted MCA president V Mahinda as urging Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari to mediate in the matter, saying the future of the popular sport and thousands of Malaysian cricket players was now in limbo.
Former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted that the issue was highlighted during his time and was one of the last things he worked on before the May 9 general election.
His successor, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, said talks were already under way to defend the cricket ground against being redeveloped.