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A change in ownership and a stoic silence over the road ahead have put a question mark on the city’s iconic Rangers’ Ground. The ownership of this mecca of cricket lovers in the state capital – which once hosted MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag and several other bigwigs – was recently shifted from the Forest Research Institute (FRI), an institute under the central government, to the state government.

The state government’s not-so-impressive track record in the upkeep of Uttarakhand’s sports infrastructure has left many sports lovers concerned.

Raj Kanwar, Doon-based historian and writer, said, “The state government was after this place for a long time and they wanted to make it the administrative building of the state forest department, but it didn’t happen since several residents, including me, opposed it heavily. But now that they have got it, I think they will turn it into a shoddy place with some concrete structure and another open space in the city will be lost forever.”

The 90-year-old journalist-turned-author added, “Back in the 1950s, we used to play cricket matches and organised proper local club tournaments. Then St Thomas also used to organise some of their events here. Back then, there also used to be a women’s club which used to hold its fair as well. The permission was given quite easily by the FRI.”

The ground has been witness to several memorable cricket matches. The state’s most famous cricket tournament, the Gold Cup, has been held on the Rangers’ Ground since 1981.

The state government has not made a formal announcement on what it intends to do with the cricket ground.