AMAZING CRICKET GROUNDS-PART 1

AMAZING CRICKET GROUNDS – PART -1

In this part of the series, I will be writing on some Amazing cricket grounds all over the world.

CHAIL CRICKET  GROUND ( HIMACHAL PRADESH)

https://youtu.be/omC3hxrkryw (video)

Chail Cricket Ground, around 45 kilometres from Shimla .Photo : Google.com

Chail is a hill station in the scenic Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. What is special about this place is that it is home to the world’s highest cricket ground, which is surrounded by chir pine and gigantic deodar trees and stands at an elevation of 2444 meters above sea level.

Chail is situated around 45 km from Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. It is considered to be a paradise for hikers, owing to its distance away from the hustle and bustle of Shimla.

Origins of the Chail Cricket Ground

In 1891, during the British Raj, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of the royal family of Patiala provoked Lord Kitchener to anger, which led to the Maharaja being banned from entering Shimla, which was the summer capital then. The Maharaja then made Chail his summer capital and rebuilt the place as per his needs. He built the cricket ground in 1893 by leveling a hilltop.

The Maharaja was a cricket lover and used the Chail Cricket Ground to play friendlies. In fact this particular Maharajah, Bhupinder Singh had a very good cricketing pedigree and captained India on its 1911 tour of England. 

After the formation of the Indian Union, the then Maharaja of Patiala donated all the buildings and the ground to Chail Military School and the Government of India. The cricket ground is being used as the school playground by Chail Military School. 

Military presence is still very much in evidence with barracks around the boundary and a Helipad where deep mid-off was once positioned.  Some cricket is still played by cadets and children for which there is an extensive sight screen and a large scoreboard. The historic trees in the ground looks like those in Canterbury (New Zealand) and Pietermartizburg ( South Africa) used to lie within the boundary.

During school vacations, the ground is sometimes used to play polo. The ground also includes a well-maintained basketball court. Occasionally, even football is played on the ground as there are goal posts present.

No big matches have been played at this scenic ground. However, some of the Test players do visit Chail for practice sessions. So, why has there not been any first-class matches conducted here yet? The ground requires renovation in order to be in a condition to host a match of such standard. Also, in order to play matches, prior permission from the Military School is required.

Another reason as to why matches are not held here could be the problem of balls being lost on occasion of a big six being hit. Although there is a fence to stop the balls from rolling down the hill, there is no way to stop those that fly way above the fence.

The cricket stadium is not allowed to be visited by regular tourists.The area can be seen from entrance having a grilled main gate. It is the highest cricket ground in world at MSL 8010ft and part of CHail Military School. It is used for Polo in summers and has basketball court & football ground too. Kids will love to see its hugeness!!!

Chail Cricket Ground could lose the elite honour of being the highest cricket ground in the world if the remote district of Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, which is at an elevation of 3048 m, realize the dream of building a cricket stadium. This cold and barren land of Lahaul-Spiti might seem like an unlikely place to play a game of cricket, but the District Cricket Association has earmarked 3.2 hectares of land for the stadium in the village of Sissu. The stadium is to be built on the pattern of the Dharamsala stadium and would comprise all the required amenities.

PART VI- DELHI- ARUN JAITLEY STADIUM

Photo courtesy : Wikipedia.com

DELHI

Delhi, the capital of India, boasts rich cultural history including famous buildings such as Red Fort, India Gate, Qutab Minar and Feroz Kotla Fort. 

 In his autobiography Futuhat-i-Firozshahi, Firoz Shah Tughlaq described himself: “Among the many gifts which God bestowed upon me, his humble servant, was a desire to erect public buildings. So, I built many mosques, colleges and monasteries’’. And so, he built Feroz Shah Kotla (kotla means fortress), peppered Delhi with gardens, constructed canals, hunting lodges, and repaired Qutub Minar, Hauz Khas (royal tank) and Surajkund (lake of the Sun).

ARUN JAITLEY STADIUM

Ferozshah Kotla ground, once known as the Willingdon Pavilion after a former Viceroy as the second oldest  stadium.  Located near the centre of the city on the edge of Old Delhi, it is situated within the walled citadel of the fortress erected in 1356 by Sultan Ferozshah Tuglaq after whom the ground is named.  Fortified gates and barbican towers all around are reminders of the past. The ground was built by Sultan Shah Tughlaq as an establishment for the colonel people to play the game and was officially inaugurated by then the viceroy of India, The Earl of Willingdon.  The fortress sits on the banks of Yamuna river.

The stadium was established in the year 1883 and is run by the Delhi Districts Cricket Association (DDCA). The stadium gets its name from its location “Feroz Shah Kotla”. .Initially no Indians were allowed to play in the ground. It was only after independence they were given permission to play in the stadium.

Cricket is the glue that binds the entire nation in one theme. Every aspiring cricketer hopes to perform before massive Indian crowds and give his absolute best in the field. And, when the venue of performance is as iconic as the Feroz Shah Kotla, the level of adrenaline rush gets doubled.

 NAME OF STANDS

As a matter of felicitation, the DDCAnamed four stands of the stadium after former India captain Bishensingh Bedi ( which Bedi wanted it to be removed), former India all-rounder Mohinder Amarnath former India opener and Delhi Ranji player Gautam Gambhir and ex- Indian Test team captain Virat Kohli ( Kohli since resigned). It was also decided to name the home team’s dressing room after Raman Lamba and the opposition’s dressing room after Prakash Bhandari.

INTERNATIONAL MATCHES

As of today , the Indian team remained undefeated for over35 years in Test matches here.

Reconstruction of the stadium

The stadium was reconstructed in 2005 at a cost of Rs.114 crore as a part of an overall redevelopment with the seating capacity increased to 45,000 and puts it in the top 10 largest stadiums in the world and it has a slightly idiosyncratic fee with the vast unmistakable  North stand towering over the ground, bearing some resemblance to the cross-section of a multi-storey car park. it was designed by the Architects M/s. Danish Siddiqui & Naval Khanna and built by M/s. Engineering Projects India Ltd., a government company.  Unusually no government or other funding was involved, all the finance being raised from selling signage rights, hospitality boxes and naming rights to corporates like Tata & ITC and each had an End after them. 

INAUGURATION of SEHWAG GATE 

On the eve of the first T20 international on 31st Oct. 2017,  between India and New Zealand at Feroz Shah Kotla, the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) honoured Virender Sehwag by renaming the stadium’s Gate 2 after the former Delhi and India batsman. Addressing the media at the DDCA event to unveil the gate, Sehwag said naming gates, dressing rooms, stands and areas in the stadium after former cricketers like him would serve as great motivators for aspiring cricketers. The gate itself contains, among other things, a cut-out of Sehwag, with the line “Legends are forever”, and a panel recounting statistics and achievements from his remarkable international career spanning 14 years.

RENAMING OF THE STADIUM

On 12th Sept.  2019, the stadium was renamed in memory of former Union Finance & Law Minister & former DDCA President Lte Arun Jaitley.  Speaking on the name change occasion the current President of DDCA Rajat Sharma said “ It was Arun Jaitley’s support and encouragement that players like Virat Kohli, Virendar Sehwag, Gautam Gambir and many others could make India proud.

DDCA  also unveiled a new pavilion stand at the stadium after the ex-Skipper Virat Kohli, who became the most successful Indian captain in Test cricket with 40 wins out of 68 tests.

VIRAT KOHLI STAND

“Never thought I would be honoured at such a grand scale. Don’t know how to address this as my family, wife, brother, sister-in-law are here,” said Kohli during the glittering function held at the Weightlifting Hall of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.

“It was in 2001 (2000) during a match against Zimbabwe, my childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma gave me two tickets. I remember clinging to the gallery grill asking for Javagal Srinath’s autograph. I was telling my brother how far we have come.

“So today to have a pavilion in my name at the same stadium is surreal and a great honour,” he added.

A short video and an animation film on Kohli’s journey from being a U-19 player to India captain was shown during the event, which was attended by the entire Indian cricket team and support staff.

FIRST TEST

The ground hosted its first test in 1948 against West Indies, the first test match in post- Independence India.

Test record

The highest test score on this ground is by West Indies, when they scored 644–8 in 1959 and 631 all out in 1948. The next highest score was made by India scoring 613–7 in 2008. The most runs scored here is by Dilip Vengsarkar (673 runs), followed by Sunil Gavaskar  (668 runs) and  Sachin Tendulkar (643 runs). 

Anil Kumble is the leading wicket taker ( 52 wkts) followed by Kapil Dev(32) and R. Ashwin ( 27)

ODI record

Only 2 times has a team scored 300+ runs in an ODI .

The Highest ODI total on this ground is 330/8 scored by West Indies against Netherlands.

7 batsmen have scored  Centuries .

 Viv Richards took 6 wickets against India in 1989

ODI Cricket World Cup

This stadium has hosted One Day International (ODI) matches when India hosted the Cricket World Cup in 1987, 1996 & 2011.

Twenty20 Internationals

2016 T20 World Cup

The ground hosted 3 matches in the 2016 Three matches from as well as one semi-final. The first ever T20I held at the ground was a Group A match between England and Afhanistan

Indian Cricket Team Matches

The ground hosted a T20I match on 1 November 2017 between India and New Zealand which was the first ever Indian International Twenty-20 at this ground and also the last international match for Ashish Nehra. On the eve of his farewell game, Delhi & District Cricket Association renamed one end of the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground as “Ashish Nehra End” and thus Nehra became the second bowler in cricket history, after James Anderson (cricketer), to have bowled from an end named after him.

The first match of the Bangladesh tour of India in 2019-20 , the T20I in Delhi, was the 1,000th men’s Twenty20 International match played on 3 November 2019 .Bangladesh won the match by seven wickets, to record their first ever victory against India in the format.

BEST MOMENTS

In the 1952 Test series against Pakistan in the first Test, India’s ace spinner Vinoo Mankad, tweaking his left arm spin, reaped a rich haul of 13 wickets and helped India’s win by an Innings & 70 runs. Hemu Adhikari & Ghulam Ahmed were involved in a record 10th wicket stand of 109 runs- a record that still stands. 

In the 1965 series against Newzeland, S. Venkatraghavan, the offie, in his debut series, demolished the New Zealand team with figures of 8 for 72 and 4 for 80 and won for india.

In 1969-70, the spin duo of Bedi and Prasanna spun India to put up a famous victory over Australia as they shared 18 wickets between them.

In the 1983 -84 series against the West Indies, he equalled Don Bradman’s 29th Test centuries here.   Incidentally, Sachin Tendulkar broke Gavaskar’s most number of centuries ( 34) with his Test century here only.

And to top it all, Anil Kumble’s 10 wickets haul on 7th Feb. 1999  against Pakistan’s 2nd innings on the fourth day of the Test, which brought victory for India.  It is also a record for any Indian bowler to take 10 wickets in a Test, which record is still intact. 

And in 2015 against S.A. Indian spin duo, Ravindra Jadeja and R. Ashwin steamrolled the Proteas with 14 wickets haul and Century in each Innings by A. Rahane helped India with a huge margin of 337 runs. 

PART -V- M.A.C. STADIUM

PART – V – M.A. CHIDAMBARAM STADIUM, CHENNAI

History

In 1859, Madras Presidency acquired Chepauk palace in an auction for Rs 5,89,000 In 1865, the government gave permission to build a pavilion at the palace grounds to Madras Cricket Club. The pavilion was finished in 1866. The pavilion was reconstructed in 1892and was utilized till 1982 when it was demolished as part of the stadium renovation. Chepauk Stadium was established in 1916 and has been the home venue of the Tamil Nadu cricket team ever since. It is the second oldest cricket stadium in the country . 

Originally known as Chepauk stadium  and Madras cricket Club stadium.  Later on named as M.A. Chidambaram stadium named after M.A. Chidambaram who was TNCA President and BCCI Treasurer.

Chepauk stadium is located across Chepauk Palace, the official residence of the Nawab of Arcot from 1768 to 1855. The stadium site used to be part of the palace grounds of the Chepauk Palace. ThreeIndo-Saracenic style pillars at the entrance of the stadium are the last remnants of the association with the erstwhile palace grounds. The pillars construction are dated back to the rule of Nawab Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah .

The stadium is located at Chepauk , a few hundred meters from Marina Beach along the Bay of Bengal. The stadium can be accessed from Wallajah Road in the north, Babu Jagjivanram Road in the west and Pycrofts Road in the south. Adjacent to the east of the stadium is the Chepauk MRTS Railway station. The Coovum runs tangentially to the north side of the stadium.

From 1960 to 1988, Chennai hosted a test match in the second week of January and was termed the Pongal Test as the match coincided with the Pongal harvest festival.

Established :  1916

First Test match played : Ind Vs ENG on 12.02.1934(Eng won the test)

First ODI :   IND- AUS on 09.10.1987 (Workd Cup League match.  Aus won by 1 run)

First T20I :  IND- NZL on 11.09.2012 (Newzeland won by 1 run)

First century in Tests : Cyril Walters – 102 (Eng) in 2nd innings on 12.2.1934

First century  in ODIs : Geoff Marsh (Aus) – 110 ( in WC)

First 5 wkts in Tests :  Amar Singh (Ind) – Right arm Fast medium – 7/86 (11.2.1934) Vs ENG

First 5 wkts in ODIs : Aquib Javed (PAK)- Right arm Medium fast-5/61 on 21/5/1997

                                      (India’s Independence Day Cup

Lease

The total area of the stadium is 752,000 square feet. This is under lease agreement between the Tamilnadu Government and the TNCA. In April 2015, the lease agreement between the government and association lapsed. In November 2019, the lease period of the stadium was extended by the Tamilnadu government for 21 years from 2015.

BOUNDARY DISTANCE

The distances from the center of the pitch to the boundary is about off side 68.58 Meters and onside 68.58 Meters, front side 65.83 Meters and back side 65.83 Meters around the ground.

DRAINAGE SYSTEM

“We have about 16,000 feet of underground pipes. These perforated PVC pipes are laid all around the square and are connected to eight main channels in a herringbone design. All the pipes slope outwards so that the water runs out to the drain across the boundary line. From there, four big outlets route the water to the canal outside,” the curator Viswanathan said.

 M.A. Chidambaram Stadium sports one of the worlds best cricket grounds including excellent features such as a Giant Video screen / Flood lights, Air-conditioned corporate boxes, Air-conditioned press box befitting any International stadium.

FACILITIES & INFRA

facility

M A Chidambaram Stadium,

SOIL

The top soil at Chepauk has 70 percent sand, followed by another layer of pure sand, which makes it a fast-drying ground.

SCENARIO  1

https://youtu.be/d2nSgUu3B-8 ( TIED TEST  LAST OVER)

TIED  TEST

India just needed 4 runs and Ravi Shastri was facing Matthews.  He hit the 2nd ball of the over for a brace and  scrambled for a single in the third ball to give strike to Maninder Singh,  the No.11 batsman with just a solitary run for the win.  Maninder prodded the 4th ball.  And in the 5th ball, Matthew bowled a fullish length ball and it the pad of Maninder and both batsmen were stealing for a single,  and there was a loud appeal by the bowler and the Umpire Vikram Raju, officiating in his 2nd match without any hesitation ruled him OUT though Maninder pleaded he hit the ball with his bat. Incidentally the Indian Umpire Vikram Raju never Umpired after this Test.

And India lost the Test by just ONE RUN.

SCENARIO 2

https://youtu.be/Fxoj3YEkEEE ( 1987 WC IND- AUS Match)

WORLD  CUP 1987

Deja vu  – Again the same two teams , viz., India and Australia.  This time on a bigger stage.  It was the 1987 World Cup first encounter between India & Australia.  It was also the first ODI match held at M.A. Chidambaram stadium.  And the same Captains. And the batsman was the same Maninder Singh but the bowler was only changed and  it was Steve Waugh. 

Quoting Dean Jones – “ One of the rules that was inscribed on our kit bags was: “To lose patience is to lose the battle”

Then Maninder Singh , the No.11 batsman, facing the last over of “The Iceman ” Steve Waugh scored a couple of braces before he was castled by an innocuous incoming delivery. 

India lost the ODI match by just ONE RUN.   

(The irony was a shot hit by Dean Jones crossed over the fence only to be declared 4 later on corrected as 6 in the scorecard as agreed by the Indian captain Kapil Dev.)

SCENARIO  3

T20 INTERNATIONAL

Though a solitary run divided the team in the final analysis, the match had all the ingredients of a T20I game.  

It was a T2O International match at M.A.Chidambaram stadium, Chennai in Sept.2012.  An emotional comeback trail for Yuvraj Singh, anti-climax for India and Kiwis team fought back brilliantly at the death overs. 

With six needed off three, Yuvraj heaved and was bowled for 34 off 26.

There was still time for one final narrative. Enter Rohit, under pressure for his lack of form, with six still needed. He tried gamely, swinging both the remaining deliveries for a couple of runs each, but India had to pay for tapering off after Kohli’s dismissal in the 14th over.

And India lost the T20I game by  ONE RUN.

These were the stand-out matches at M.A. Chidambaram stadium, Chepauk, Chennai

BEST  MOMENTS

  • Hosted the first ever match of the Ranji Trophy on 4 November 1934 between Madras and Mysore.
  • India recorded their first Test win at this ground in 1951-52 when they defeated England by an innings and eight runs.
  • The second tied Test in the history of cricket was played here, between India and Australia in 1986.
  • Sunil Gavaskar scored his 30th test match century here in 1983 breaking Don Bradman’s record for most centuries in test cricket.
  • The best test match bowling figures of 16 for 136 on debut belong to Narendra Hirwani on this ground.
  • On 15 October 2004, Shane Warne surpassed Muttiah Muralitharan’s tally of 532 Test wickets to become the highest wicket taker during that time.
  • Virender Sehwag scored 319 against South Africa in April 2008, the fastest triple century in test history.
  • India’s 387/4 in the fourth innings of the test against England in December 2008, became the highest successful run chase in a test match in India.
  • Saeed Anwar recorded the highest individual score in ODIs – 194 – at this ground, which remained over a decade before Sachin Tendulkar scored 200 against South Africa.
  • Sunil Gavaskar (1018 runs) had scored the most number of test match runs in this stadium followed by Sachin Tendulkar (970 runs).
  • M.S. Dhoni’s broke the record for the highest individual score by a Indian captain as well as wicket-keeper captain on his way to 224 against Australia in 2013.

PART IV- EDEN GARDENS

EDEN  GARDENS  GROUND, KOLKATA

Eden Garden stadium .  Photo Courtesy : Google

KOLKATA  ( CALCUTTA)

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), “ the city of Joy”,  is the capital of India’s Bengal state. Founded as an East India Company trading port, it was India’s capital under the British Raj from 1773–1911. Today it’s known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals. The famous Ramakrishna Math is situated in the outskirts at Belur, Kolkata.

KOLKATA AND CRICKET

According to Historian and Author of many books on Cricket, Mihir Bose in his book “ A history of Indian Cricket “,  writes  that, “ The Calcutta Cricket Club was in existence by 1792 and is probably the second oldest cricket club in the world after the MCC (England)”.  All the early mention of cricket in India centres around Calcutta, the first  cricket match was played there on 18th & 19th Jan. 1804 and the first recorded century on Indian soil was in Calcutta”.  But Bombay took the game, making it the centre of Indian cricket.

While Calcutta continues to show immense enthusiasm for the game and Eden Gardens is one of the great Test match centres of the world, only a handful of Bengalis played Test cricket.  Calcutted provides the best, the most dedicated spectators, but very few players.

EDEN GARDENS

KOLKATA – EDEN GARDENS GROUND- MECCA OF INDIAN CRICKET

https://youtu.be/7CHC7Pp4WC8 (inside Ground- Video)

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Although the original ownership of the land on which the cricket grounds now stand is disputed, it is likely that it was once owned by wealthy zamindars of the village of Gobindapur, which was combined with the villages of Kalikata and Sutanuti by Job Charnock in 1686 to create Calcutta. The zamindars, forced to leave their land, were compensated handsomely to settle in other parts of the city, and the property came under the control of the East India Company.

EDEN GARDEN STADIUM

DISTANCE OF PITCH

According to Wikipedia distances from the center of the pitch to the boundary is about offside 66 Meters and onside 69 Meters, High Court end side 64 meters and Pavilion 71 Meters around the ground.

HISTORY

Though there is no definite information about the history of Eden Gardens, some believe that the land belonged to the Maharaja of Cooch-Behar, while some are of the opinion that it was the property of the Auckland Family. However, one thing which is certain is that the land was conferred to Governor General’s family, who, in turn, presented it to the citizens of Calcutta for recreational purposes.

It was, then, that the Calcutta Cricket Club was established, Eden Gardens serving as it’s headquarter. In the year 1871, the pavilion was built with which started the history of playing cricket in the ground, amidst Sylvan surroundings. However, it was in the year 1917-18 that the first ever first-class match was played. The foremost test match played was in January1934, against Douglas Jardine’s MCC. Since this first match, the ground has hosted more test matches than any other venue in India. Talking about the one day internationals, the first match was played in 1987 February against Pakistan.

Popularly called the Lord’s of Asia, Eden Gardens is the oldest cricket ground in India and also one of the finest in the world. It was established in the year 1864 .Apart from a cricket ground, Eden Garden comprises an indoor cricket stadium, two indoor sports complexes and the All India Radio building. The stadium hosted its first ever first-class cricket match in 1917-18. The first test match of this stadium was played in January 1934. A one day match was played here for the first time in February 1987, between India and Pakistan.

LOCATION

The stadium is situated in B.B.D. Bagh area of the Kolkata city near Secretariat and Calcutta High Court.  It stands in more than 50 acres of blissful landscape.  The verdant pathways of Eden Gardens are shaded by huge mahogany, mango and Banyan trees that make it a peaceful place to sit and enjoy the marvels of nature.  There is also a 3 storeyed Burmese Pagoda in red and yellow that was brought here by Lord Dalhousie.  

A brand new pitch cover was installed in 2016 from England. The entire ground can be covered in 15-20 minutes.

It’s the second largest stadium in the country with 66,000 capacity after renovation.  It  is also used for Football matches.

The entire stadium and the surrounding land is still administered by the Defence Ministry of India, without whose permission no event  can take place. The Cricket Association of Bengal is merely a lesser and not the owner. 

Modernization Of Eden Garden

The first time ever Eden Gardens was revamped was in the 1987 World Cup. Being the venue wherein the final match was to take place, the ground was given a face lift and covered stands were built all around, with a modern ClubHouse and pavilion. In the present times, the Club House holds the office of the Cricket Association of Bengal. Floodlights were first installed in the year 1993, in the stadium, on the eve of the five-nation tournament, held to celebrate the CAB Diamond Jubilee. The ground played host to all the day-night one-day international matches in the tournament.

Present Scenario

Eden Gardens holds the distinction of being one of  the largest cricketing facilities in the world. It is a dream-come-true for all the cricketers in the world, when they play in this magnificent and gigantic lush green stadium. Boasting of one of the largest seating arrangements in the world, the average number of people attending the matches has never been less than 50, 000. The stadium is always filled with people, who cheer the players and keep their hopes alive and the spectators play as the 12th man for the home team. . However, on the flip side, crowd violence has marred some of the key matches played in this ground.

Eden Gardens, today, is basking in the glory and has reached the pinnacle of success. Whether it was the epic India-Australia Test match in 2001, or the hat-trick clinched by Indian spinner, Harbhajan Singh, against Australia or South Africa’s comeback into International cricket, or even matches against the arch-rivals Pakistan, Eden Gardens has always been known to produce some of the most exciting and electrifying cricket encounters. The stadium is also the home ground of Kolkata Knight Riders, a franchise of the recently started India Premier League (IPL).

UNIQUE  ARTWORK

The walls of the ‘Pride of Indian cricket’ gets wall art like any other cricket stadium. What’s fascinating about the wall art is that it has been prepared by over 25 students from Kolkata’s Government College of Art & Craft. The decoration of the project was managed by Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). The wall art is about four storeys tall on one side.

“Our basic idea was to capture the feeling – the awe and excitement people feel when for the first time they see the historic field,” said Sayan Mukherjee one of the artists responsible for the work, “As children, when we walked in for the first time here in the stands, we felt like it was a magic, a transformation and through this work, we wanted to highlight that. 

”Here are a few photos of Eden Gardens’ wall art work :-

Photo Courtesy: Indian Express

Photo Courtesy: Indian Express

The Kolkata stadium also has the paintings of cricketers celebrating their success. The entrance of the stadium has photos of legendary cricketers Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly, Jhulan Goswami and others. 

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BIG  BELL

Kapil Dev rang the Big Bell ( like Big Bell at Lord’s , England) just before the Indian and New Zealand teams walked out for the national anthem on the opening day of the second Test at the Eden Gardens at Kolkata on Friday. ( in 2016)

India vs New Zealand: Kapil Dev inaugurates bell ringing ritual at Eden Gardens

Former Indian captain Kapil Dev with CAB’s president Sourav Ganguly. AP

India’s first World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev rang the bell just before the Indian and New Zealand teams walked out for the national anthem on the opening day of the second Test at the Eden Gardens at Kolkata on Friday in 2016.

Accompanied by Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) President and former India captain Sourav Ganguly,  Kapil Dev completed the much sought-after ritual in front of a motley  crowd. Ganguly had stated that every morning it will be rung by a cricketer from either side or ex-players.

FACILITIES

The stadium’s outfield and drainage system came under a lot of criticism.  When Sourav Ganguly became CAB President in 2016, he made sure that a new covering process was done in the outfield , so that the outfield does not remain waterlogged for long.  The drainage system was also upgraded. Previously the CAB had only 3 super soppers in place.  Keeping in mind the unpredictable weather conditions, Sourav ordered 2 more super soppers from Australia so that even if it rained, the ground could be made ready for the match to resume quickly.

Eden Gardens had installed a new electronic scoreboard like MCG.  The new scoreboard will show all the details, highlights and graphics of a match.

“After consulting the umpires, we have raised the height of the sight screens which has resulted in reduction of around 850 seats at the Club House and High Court ends,” Cricket Association of Bengal joint secretary Subir Ganguly said.

The reduction of the seats is a blow to the ordinary cricket spectators.

NEW DRESSING ROOMS

The International Cricket Council (ICC) wanted  two more dressing rooms at the Eden Gardens which will host the World Twenty20 final in 2016. The Eden Gardens had only two dressing rooms, one for the home team and the other for the visiting team before T20 WC 2016. . But as the women’s World T20 final will also be held on the same day, cricket’s world governing body has asked the CAB for four change rooms and now it has 4 dressing rooms.

2011 Renovation

Eden Gardens underwent renovation for the 2011 World cup.  Renovation had been undertaken to meet the standards set by the ICC for the 2011 World Cup. The  Cricket Association of Bengal retained the team of Burt Hill and VMS to renovate the Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium. The plans for the renovated stadium included a new clubhouse and players’ facilities, upgrades of the exterior walls to give the stadium a new look, cladding the existing roof structure with a new metal skin, new/upgraded patron amenities & signage and general infrastructure improvements. The upgrade also meant reduction of the seating capacity to about 68,000 from around 94,000 before the upgrade.

The stadium hosted three scheduled World Cup 2011 Matches on 15, 18 and 20 March 2011. In the last of these three matches (Kenya vs Zimbabwe), the stadium had the lowest ticket-purchasing crowd in its recorded history with 15 spectators having bought tickets.

The Historic stands of Eden Gardens

The stands of the Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata are named after prominent cricketers and soldiers of the Indian Army. The names include that of Sourav Ganguly, Pankaj Roy, Jagmohan Dalmiya, and B. N. Dutt.

Some of the names of the Soldiers after whom 4 stands are named include, Colonel Neelakantan Jayachandran Nair, Havildar Hangpan Dada, Major Dhan Singh Thapa and Subedar Joginder Singh Sahnan.

LC Dhan Singh Thapa and Subedar Joginder Singh were the war heroes of 1962 Sino- Indian War and were awarded posthumously with Param Vir Chakra, the highest wartime military gallantry award in India. Col NJ Nair and Havildar Dada sacrificed their lives while fighting insurgents in Nagaland and Kashmir respectively. Both were awarded posthumously with Ashok Chakra, India’s highest peacetime military gallantry award

.Best Moments 

  • In 1977,  New York Cosmos played a Football match against Mohun Bagun at the stadium.  Edson Arantes do Nascimento “aka”  Pelé played in that match for the Cosmos. The match was drawn at 2–2.
  • 16 football fans died in a stampede after a derby league game between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan on 16 August 1980.
  • Eden Gardens hosted the 1987 Cricket World Cup Final  which was the first ever Cricket World Cup final hosted outside England. The match ended with Australia defeating England by 7 runs. This was the first time Australia won the Cricket WC Final. 
  • The 1996 World Cup semi-final was called off and Sri Lanka awarded the match after crowd disturbances following an Indian batting collapse.
  • During the 2nd final of the  1997 Independence Cup the Test and ODI captains of the Indian cricket team of all time (with a few notable exceptions) were given a lap of honour around the stadium.
  • In 1999, leading Indian batsmanSachin Tendulkar was run out after colliding with Pakistan’s Shoaib Akthar.  Akhtar had impeded Tendulkar and the crowd rioted, forcing the police to evict the spectators. The match continued in front of an empty stadium.
  •  Kapil Dev took an ODI hat-trick against the Sri Lankans in 1991 at the ground.
  •  Harbhajan Singh took a hat-trick against  Australia in 2000/01 at the ground. He became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket.
  • In 2005,  Sachin Tendulkar scored his 10,000th run in Test Cricket against Pakistan on this ground making him the second Indian batsman and fifth overall to achieve this feat.
  • Eden Gardens hosted the historic 199th (penultimate) Test match of Sachin Tendulkar’s career against West Indies from 6-10 Nov 2013. India defeated West Indies by an innings and 51 runs in 3 days.
  • On its 150th anniversary, on 13 November 2014, Eden Gardens witnessed the highest ever score by a batsman in One Day Internationals, a 264 off 173 balls scored by Rohit Sharma  during the 4th One Day International of Sri Lanka vs India at the venue.
  • On 3 April 2016, in this venue, within a span of hours, the finals of the ICC world cup Twenty20 tournaments for the women and for the men were won by the respective women’s and men’s teams of the West Indies.
  • The stadium hosted the 200th and 250th home tests for India in 2005 and 2016 respectively.

Iconic Matches Played at Eden Gardens Kolkata

1962- India  Vs England: India gained victory in this match. This was the first match where India beat England in a test match at Eden Gardens after a long period of 10 years. India had won the match by 182 runs thanks to brilliant spin bowling by Salim Durrani ( left arm orthodox) and Chandu Borde (leg break) and Poly Umrigar (off break).

1975- India Vs  West Indies: Though India could not win the test series, the third test match in a 5- match series went on to become a legendary victory when India beat West Indies by 85 runs. The match was played against  the likes of  Sir Andy Roberts, Bernard Julien, Roy Fredericks and Lance Gibbs in the West Indies team,  the diminutive Gundappa Viswanath hit a magnificent century and paved the way for India’s win here after 2-0 down in the series.

1993- India Vs South Africa:  When the ball was tossed to Sachin Tendulkar by Captain Azaruddin to bowl the ultimate over to defend a paltry 5 runs, it was a shocker to everybody. The iconic win of this Hero Cup final match was pulled off by none other than our own master blaster, Sachin Tendulkar with his miraculous bowling over at the last moment. India won the match by 2 runs.

2001- India Vs Australia:  A watershed moment in the history of Indian test cricket.  Another iconic match is remembered when India was asked to follow-on and  due to the sudden twist pulled off by partnership of V.V.S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid when the first four batsmen took a quick return to the pavilion very early into the match. Rahul and Laxman played the full 4th day without being separated  when V.V.S. Laxman hit a marathon 281 runs and Rahul Dravid 180 runs putting 376 runs for the 5th wicket and India won a match that was thought to be lost in the beginning.

2005- India Vs Pakistan: After losing to Pakistan at Mohali in the test series, India went on to win the thrilling match at Eden as well as the entire series thereafter.

2013- India Vs West Indies: This match is termed iconic as it marked the last test match played by Sachin Tendulkar of his career. It marked the end of an era.

2019- India Vs Bangladesh : On 22 November 2019, India’s first ever DAY / NIGHT  test match between India and Bangladesh  was hosted at Eden Gardens and the game was inaugurated jointly by the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Bannerjee and the President of Bangladesh which India won comfortably by an Innings & 18 runs. 

PART III- CRICKET GROUND

PART III – CRICKET GROUNDS

                                                                       Contd  ….

WANKHEDE  STADIUM, MUMBAI

Wankhade stadium.  Photo Courtesy : Sportskeeda

MUMBAI AND CRICKET

Mumbai has always been the hub of Indian cricket. As we all know, it has produced many iconic cricketers for Team India, especially the legends Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. For this reason, the craze of cricket in Mumbai is always high, and the number of people who play cricket in Mumbai is huge. 

Unlike other sports, cricket gives a special high for most of the Mumbaikars. Fortunately, there is a place where all the cricket madness gets expressed at Wankhede stadium – The ground of extraordinary feats & historical moments. 

History 

Bombay , the Lord’s of India, had used 3 grounds to play cricket.In 1933 it used Gymkhana grounds to play India’s First test inIndia.  And then it used Brabourne stadium for 17 tests.

After a  rift with the Cricket Club of India at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, the Mumbai Cricket Association wanted to have its own stadium. The MCA built  its own Wankhede Stadium, no more than a mile away from Brabourne stadium near Churchgate Railway station, Mumbai at a cost of Rs.1.87 crores. It is named after the Association’s President Barrister Sheshrao Wankhede in 1974. The stadium after redevelopment in 2011 can house 33,000 spectators.  It houses the BCCI Headquarters.

Stands :  Sunil Gavaskar, North Stand, Vijay Merchant, Sachin Tendulkar, MCA

Pavilion, Divecha Pavilion, Garware Pavilion

End names :  Garware Pavilion end  and Tata end

Wankhede Stadium elevation above sea level  is 13m

 Wankhade stadium – Photo courtesy :  http://www.architechturaldigest.in 

 

Stands in Wankhede

Sachin Tendulkar Stand in Wankhede Stadium

Photo courtesy : –  cricindeed.com

 The hi-fi  Sachin Tendulkar Stand is the biggest of the order almost occupying a third of the entire stadium and M.S. Dhoni’s winning heave in WC 2011 Final landed here only.

NORTH STAND 

The  vociferous cacophony is what the North Stand  Gang is  known for and which  sets the tone for a place where unique chants get started. Interestingly, it is the place that usually sets the environment of the entire stadium. All of them shared a love for the straight view from up top and thus, even the blocks from where the Gang watched matches together were set – G, H – because they offered the straightest view.

Their  Twitter handle  tagline succinctly put it like this:

“We  love Cricket!

Join us in Level 3, North Stand, Wankhede Stadium.

We cheer for India, loudest of all.”

The Gang kept moving forward steadily – they came up with innovative and funny chants, met each other on non-cricket weekends to talk about life and cricket, inducted more like-minded members into the Gang, getting on social media to let more cricket fans know about themselves.

A big break came in 2016 during the India vs. England Test when the Gang members turned out in force (close to 40 members) in their customary white T-shirts and England’s Barmy Army noticed their enthusiasm and perhaps, a kindred spirit too. The Gang received Barmy Army memorabilia and gifted one of their T-shirts. The two groups still keep in regular touch on Twitter.

Cut to today, the Gang has grown exponentially in terms of its membership as well as its presence on social media. From getting featured on podcasts with former international cricketers, journalists from India and South Africa to meeting a few legendary cricketers during the 2019 India vs. SA test at Pune through some kind benefactors, the Gang has traversed quite a distance. But the childlike spirit of camaraderie and unadulterated love for the game remains strong.

The North Stand – Photo courtesy : Twitter handle of North Stand Gang

The Sunil Gavaskar stand is for those who prefer cheap ticket prices, while any fan who loves to catch the ball would like to be in the Vithal Divecha stand in the cow corner region. 

One finds it difficult to find a seat in the MCA stand, as it gives a clear view of the dressing room stairs. And the Grandstand is placed right above the sight screen.

FIRST  TEST

This new stadium hosted its first ever international match on 23rd January 1975 for the touring West Indies for the final 5th Test here.  And the Windies romped home with a whopping margin of 201 runs when Clive Lloyd hit his career bestof 242 runs unbeaten and with that the series also by 3-2 margin.  And it was M.A.K. Pataudi’s last hurrah of international cricket.

RENOVATION

Originally designed in 1974, The Wankhede Stadium had 13 acres which  was dwindled to 7.5 acres after space was allotted for the Garware Club House.  The stadium was renovated by Sahshi Prabhu & Associates in 2009, as the Mumbai Cricket Association got ready to pitch for the Cricket World Cup 2011. The firm took up the challenge of upgrading this structure to world-class standards. 

The new stadium was reconstructed in just 14 months with a brand new cantilevered fabric roof with an obstruction free view. The total capacity of the stadium was reduced to 35,000 spectators; however, 72 luxury private boxes were added to the stadium. The roofing system was also upgraded to a cantilevered type so as to eliminate the supporting columns to facilitate obstruction free viewing and also fitted with an underground sprinkler system . 

The key features of the stadium include comfortable and safe player’s and VIP areas, dedicated press and commentators’ boxn to accommodate 250 media personnel, underground drainage system, adequate restroom and concession facilities, flood light system. The hard benches were replaced by bucket seats.  

One of the highlights of the stadium is the suspended cantilever roofs. The Teflon fabric roof is lighter in weight and heat resistant. There is no beam support for the roof to ensure that the spectators will have a better view. The southern basement was reconstructed, so also the super structure of the North and East stands while the East and West stands were refurbished.  On the roof there are exhaust fans which suck the hot air from the stands and allow the breeze from the West to flow in. The stadium has 20 elevators for North and South stands. 

The stadium is sprawled across 43,977.93 sq.metres and the plot (land) leased to MCA by the Maharastra State government for 50 years initially was renewed in 2019.

INTERNATIONAL MATCHES.

There were some memorable moments including Sunil Gavaskar’s 205 runs against West Indies, Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell Test in 2013, the charismatic England all rounder, Ian Botham’s all round heroics in the Golden Jubilee Test in 1980 and Australia’s defeat by 13 runs when the ball ball spun viciously in 2004 and Virat  Kohli’s double century in 2016.  

Among the Tests & ODI matches there are two stand-out matches , viz., the recent India-Newzealand Test   2021 & 2011 World cup Final.  On both occasions India was the winner.

2011 WORLD CUP FINAL

The victorious Indian team with the World cup 2011.  Photo : Rediff.com

Ravi Shastri in the TV  commentary box in a thunderous voice “ Dhoniiii finishes off in style”rent in the air in the Finals of 2011 World Cup at Wankhade stadium.

The wait was over. After 28 years, India lifted the World cup for the second time.  When the mercurial Indian captain M.S. Dhoni lifted the ball of the penultimate over bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara in his own inimitable style into the stands. A surcharged atmosphere prevailed in the 2011 WC Final between India & Srilanka as India was chasing 274 runs.  After a brilliant hundred by Srilanka’s Mahela Jayawardane,  India while chasing  lost early wickets of their openers, Viru and Sachin. Then Gautam Gambhir and Kohli steadied the innings with a century partnership and when Kohli left, Dhoni promoted himself up the order above the in-formYuvraj and Dhoni & Gambhir added another century partnership.  When Gambhir was out India still needed 40 odd runs.  Then Captain cool stepped up the chase and when Dhoni lifted the ball with his penchant helicopter shot there was an eerie silence in the stadium as the ball was soaring high in the sky Dhoni swirled his bat happily   And when the ball landed in the long- on stand, there were rambunctious celebrations in the stadium and the players from dug-out ran to hug Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh.  And India lifted the ODI World cup for the second time after a hiatus gap of 28 years and the Man of the moment was India’s captain MSD.

2021 INDIA- NEWZEALAND  TEST

Records galore in the recently concluded Ind-New Zeland Test series provided a touch of class as India scored its highest Test victory in terms of runs in the 2 Test series and Mumbai born New Zeland’s left arm spinner Ajaz Patel hogging the headlines as he claimed all the 10 wickets of Indian batsmen in the first innings.  A record to cherish for Ajaz as he became the third bowler in Tests to claim all the 10 wickets after England’s Jim Laker and India’s Anil Kumble. 

India elected to bat first and the Indian openers Mayank Agarwal and Gill straight away into the groove attacking the erring deliveries and Mayank spanked the rank bad balls to the fence.  He charged down to spinners and eloquently cleared the fielders with consummate ease.  His century (150 ) impacted in the ultimate analysis as other batsmen couldn’t cope with the spin of Ajaz Patel. 

And Kiwis had no clue how to handle the Indian bowling attack especially their spin trio  led by ace spinner R. Ashwin, Jayant Yadav and Axar Patel as they were bundled out for a paltry 62, the lowest total in this stadium, inside one session and India batted second time to ensure a big lead.  The Kiwis again faltered of course better this time as they were dismissed for 167 and India romped home with  their biggest margin of victory by 372 runs in their Test cricket.

OTHER EVENTS

International pop sensation Shakira’s music concert was held here on 25th March 2007 as part of her “Oral Fixation Tour “. To be continued ……..

PART II- CRICKET GROUNDS

                                  Contd …..

BRABOURNE STADIUM

Brabourne stadium.  Photo courtesy : Sportskeeda.com

The Brabourne Stadium was built on a piece of land reclaimed from the sea which Lord Brabourne, Governor of Bombay, presented to the Cricket Club of India 

The Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai boasts of a glorious past. It is named after Lord Brabourne who laid the foundation stone for the stadium on 22 May 1936. Brabourne stadium, built on a piece of land reclaimed from the sea, was officially inaugurated on 7th December 1937. The opening match was played between CCI and Lord Tennyson’s team. This luxurious stadium became a center for multiple sports facilities during the British period and also hosted international tennis tournaments.

Now It can accommodate 20,000 people for sports matches. The ground is owned by the Cricket club of India  (CCI). 

The Brabourne has been identified as a Heritage Grade IIB structure.The stadium has a pavilion and three public stands, namely the West Stand, North Stand and East Stand. The three public stands face the clubhouse from three different sides of the ground and are sheltered by cavernous, overhanging roofs.

The pavilion can be divided into the clubhouse in the centre with the Governor’s Pavilion and the Maharaja of Patiala Pavilion on either side and is a three-story art deco nautical structure with rounded pediments, flagpoles and port-hole windows.] The pavilion boasts of dark wood wall paneling and decorative marble floors. The walls of the pavilion are adorned with portraits of past and present cricketers and photographs of famous cricket matches.

ENCOMIUMS BY LEGENDS 

The Brabourne Stadium has drawn praise from various quarters. Australian cricketer Keith Miller called the ground “the most complete ground in the world”, West Indian legend Frank Worrell stated that the Brabourne was the only ground in the world where he could be in his dressing gown until he had to pad up, hence he loved playing at the venue.

Brian Lara, “It is one of the most beautiful venues across the world. Perfect to host a good cricket match.” Former Indian captain Ajit Wadekar commented on the eve of the India-Sri Lanka test in 2009, “It is the ultimate dream for any cricketer to play at Lord’s; by the same token, every Indian cricketer would like to play at the CCI. It has a lovely atmosphere and that makes you feel different. You also play in front of a knowledgeable crowd.   Former Indian captain M. S. Dhoni stated, “… Of course, it is special to play at CCI. … It has a nice atmosphere.”

 Noted Journalist and Chairman of the Mid-Day group, Khalid A. H. Ansari wrote in his newspaper, “Having witnessed cricket the world over, I can confidently say that cricket at the alluring Brabourne Stadium is an experience without parallel.”

INTERNATIONAL MATCHES

The Brabourne Stadium hosted Test matches from 1948 to 1972 and it was the venue for Bombay Pentangular matches from 1937 until 1946. 

It has hosted 18 Tests out of which India won 5 Tests and lost 2 and remaining were drawn.  It hosted 9 ODIs including Nehru Cup, Hero Cup and ICC Champions Trophy and India won 2 ODIs.  

It has hosted India’s First T20 International match in 2007 (after a roaring success in winning the T20I World cup in S.A.) and India won the match comfortably.

After falling out with CCI  over ticketing arrangements , the Bombay Cricket Association (BCA) built the Wankhede Stadium a few hundred metres north of Brabourne Stadium. After the Wankhede Stadium was built, Brabourne was no longer used for Test matches, although visiting teams played a few first-class matches at the ground. Apart from cricket, the ground has played host to tennis and football matches as well as music shows and concerts.

More recently, international cricket has returned to Brabourne; it played host to the ICC Champions Trophy in 2006 and it was the venue for the first Twenty20 International played in India in 2007. Brabourne hosted a Test match in December 2009 after 36 years, thus creating a record for the biggest gap between two tests at the same ground. The ground was home to the Mumbai Indians, Several matches of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2013 were held here. At its AGM in September 2013, the BCCI unanimously decided to allot international matches as per its rotation policy thereby bringing the ground back as a regular international venue. BCCI also used this stadium on 29 May 2014 for IPL playoffs that is eliminator between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. In IPL 2015 the venue was secondary home ground to the Rajasthan Royals.

Test cricket 

Brabourne hosted 17 Test matches between 1948 and 1973, starting with two matches against the West Indies in India’s first home series after World War II in 1948–49.. India won their first ever test series in 1952 against Pakistan after taking a 2–1 lead on the basis of this victory. Vijay Hazare scored a hundred in each of his four test match appearances at the ground, the most by any player here.

 

Indian batsman Abbas Ali Baig became the first Indian cricketer to be kissed on a cricket field during the third Test between India and Australia at the Brabourne in 1960. When Baig reached the fifty run mark, a young woman ran onto the ground from the North Stand and kissed him on his cheek in full view of a packed crowd. 

During the test match in  Jan.1964, several members of the visiting England team faced fitness issues, forcing England to request India to provide a substitute fielder. On successive days, A. G. Kripal Singh and Hanumant Singh took the field as substitutes for Micky Stewart. 

CHANDRA SPINS FOR INDIA

The Test match between India and Australia on October 10, 1964, was an absolute cracker of a match in which India held the nerve to win the match by 2 wickets with MAK Pataudi playing a captain’s knock and helping India chase the target in the 4th Innings.

The rookie leg spinner aged just 19 years B. Chandrasekar tormented the Aussies with his googly deliveries and scalped 8 wickets in the Test and helped India win this Test.

Bhagwat Chandrasekar at his best at Brabourne against Aussies.  Photo courtesy :  Getty Images

The final day coincided with the festival of Dussehra, a public holiday, which meant that an estimated crowd of 42,000 thronged to witness the proceedings, hopeful of a famous Indian victory and Captain M.A.K. Pataudi led from the front with a half century and his stand of 93 runs with Vijay Manjrekar almost sealed India’s win and Chandu Borde stayed till the end and saw India in winning moments.

The winning moment arrived when Borde hit a straight drive to the boundary off a full toss from Veivers, sending the packed house into delirium. India reached 256/8 with half an hour left in the game and Borde, unbeaten on 30, returned to the pavillion as a hero. 

The Indian captain himself played a  decisive role in the stirring victory hitting 86 and 53 runs, and unsurprisingly, mentioned it as ‘the most satisfying I have known as captain’ in his 1969 autobiography Tiger’s Tale.

In an unusual occurrence, when Gundappa Viswanath completed a hundred runs for India against England in a test match in 1973, he was lifted by England fielder Tony Greig.

ICONIC MOMENT

The best Test to remember was way back in the 5th &  final Test, against West Indies played in Feb 4-8, 1949, a tantalizing match ended in a Draw. India’s bowlers finally had a good match in the 5 Test series, keeping West Indies to 268 and 267. Set a target of 361 in 395 minutes, India finished on 355/8 thanks to a brilliant century by India’s mainstay Vijay Hazare and with West Indies, Captain Goddard’s behindhand tactics and the Indian umpire Bapu Joshi’s howler, signalling the end of the Test when there were two minutes still left to go. Thus the Indians were denied their First Win in Tests by just 6 runs.

Concerts And Events

  • During a NUS convention, Jawaharlal Nehru addressed a fully packed Brabourne Stadium in 1950.
  • The Brabourne Stadium witnessed the centenary celebrations of the Indian National Congress in 1985. 
  • The ground served as the venue for the Filmfare Award ceremony in 1955 and also the 26th International Film Festival of India in 1995.
  • In 1994, Bryan Adams performed in Brabourne Stadium in his first show for India. Also, Indian artists such as Lata Mangeshkar, Jagjit Singh, etc have had their performances here.
  • The Zubin Mehta-led Israel Philharmonic orchestra performed four concerts at Brabourne in 1994, each with a capacity crowd of 15,000.The Rolling Stones performed at the ground during their Licks Tour on 7 April 2003 to a sold out crowd of 25,000 people.
  • Placido Domingo performed at the Brabourne in 2008 as part of a concert.Some Indian artists, such as Jagjit Singh and Lata Mangeshkar, have also performed at the ground.

CRICKET GROUNDS IN INDIA- PART 1

“ A Bengali Historian once complained that had Mahatma Gandhi not assumed control of the Indian national movement, football rather than cricket would have become the country’s national sport .  Mahatma Gandhi decisively moved the centre of politics from Bengal to Western India, where cricket dominated.  Hence cricket became India’s most avidly patronized sport “ –  Historian Author Ramachandra Guha in his book “A Corner of a Foreign Field”.

Cricket is unusual among major sports  in that there is no official rule for a fixed-shape ground for professional games though ICC stipulates the size of the ground under ICC Rules 10.1.3. On most grounds, a rope demarcates the perimeter of the field and is known as the boundary.

CRICKET GROUNDS IN INDIA

.A cricket ground plays an important role in the conduct of the game . India can boast of having 52 International grounds,( both past and present), the highest in the world of cricket. 

Out of the 52 International cricket grounds, 24 are active and hosting international matches .

Mumbai is the birthplace of cricket in the country, where the Parsis first played cricket along with the British, who brought the game to our country during colonial rule. 

Mumbai had three cricket grounds, viz., Gymkhana, Brabourne and Wankhade stadium.

GYMKHANA GROUNDS

Gymkhana Grounds, Bombay hosted the first-ever international cricket in India when the Indians played its First Test in India against the visiting M.C.C. (England) in 1933.

Gymkhana grounds- Photo courtesy : Indian Express

On the 19th of June 1875, a meeting of sports enthusiasts was held in the office of Wm. Nicol and Co. when it was decided to amalgamate the existing sports clubs, cricket, polo, football and gun into the Bombay Gymkhana.

The establishment of the Bombay Gymkhana was largely due to the steadfast efforts of Captain Ernest Lindsay Marryat and Lieutenant Carmichael Light Young.

The First President of the Bombay Gymkhana was Sir Lyttleton Bayley, Acting Chief Justice of Bombay and a former cricket captain of Eton, who served in this capacity for 20 years. Social status and an interest in sports were important criteria for membership and 200 gentlemen were enrolled as the first members of the new Club.

Permission was obtained from the authorities to erect a Club House on the Parade Ground (now Azad Maidan) which was designed by John Adams and completed in 1876. The total cost of Rs.15,625 for the construction of the building was primarily raised by subscriptions and donations from Members, while the Parsi philanthropist, Sir Cowasji Jehangir, voluntarily contributed Rs.1000 for the furnishings although he could never enter the Club House since membership was then open only to Europeans.

Formed in 1875 exclusively for Europeans, the Gymkhana remained that way till into the 20th century and even Ranjitsinhji was refused admission. The only Indians allowed into the club were servants, although this rule had to be suspended for the 1932-33 Test to allow the players to use the facilities.

The Bombay Gymkhana, established in 1875 is one of the premier gentlemen clubs in the city of Mumbai, India. Bombay Gymkhana Rugby Club (rugby union) are tenants.

It is located in the Fort area of the South Mumbai area and was originally built as a British-only club, designed by English architect, Claude Batley.

The Gymkhana’s Grounds offers its members various sporting facilities like rugby, football, cricket, swimming, tennis, badminton, squash and also has a fitness centre. It is located in the precincts of  Azad Maidan and is in close proximity to Victoria Terminus ( now Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) railway station in the heart of the Mumbai City.

The unique Swiss Chalet style Bombay Gymkhana Club House and Pavilion designed by John Adams was completed in 1876.  This was given a Heritage status and treated as a protected structure under Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai’s guidelines.  The Gymkhana Club’s members reflect the spirit of this great cosmopolitan city.  Sports bind the members be it in Cricket, Tennis, football, billiards etc. This club also has a unisex Gymnasium, yoga facilities, a library, a convenience store and dining facilities.

FIRST TEST IN INDIA

And just a week before that first Test, the ground hosted the MCC tour match against Bombay Presidency XI when 20,000 attended. It had also hosted that initial first-class game in 1877, the Presidency match between the Parsees (the first community from India to take to the game) and the Europeans, which ended in a draw.

The Gymkhana grounds hosted India’s First ever Test in India in 1933 against M.C.C. (England )which the Tourists won comfortably by 9 wickets. Indian team was captained by Col. C.K. Nayudu.  It was the 16th game of the tour captained by Douglas Jardine ( “Bodyline” (in)famous captain). 

Temporary stands and shaminas were put up at the ground to accommodate a record crowd of 50,000 people, with tickets selling at five times their usual price.  Lala Amarnath’s maiden century, noted to be one of the best innings played in Indian cricket, is still etched in our memory.  It hasn’t hosted any senior players matches since the Brabourne Stadium took its place in 1937, replacing the ground as the venue for the Bombay Pentangular as well as international matches.

 It was the only Test held here as the game, later on, moved to other places including Brabourne Stadium, Bombay. 

In 2004, the Indian Women’s team played an ODI against the Australian Women’s team at Bombay Gymkhana. In March 2010, Mumbai Indians played a practice match at the ground ahead of the IPL season. Later in the year, the Canada team played a match against a Bombay Gymkhana team to prepare for the World cup in 2011.

To be continued …….

INDIA- NEWZELAND TEST SERIES 2021

India's Ravichandaran Ashwin, left, share a light moment with Virat Kohli during the day three of their second test cricket match with New Zealand in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)(AP)

When India’s ace spinner allured the New Zeland’s well settled batter Henry Nicholls with a flighted delivery, who hitherto showed his composure, tentatively charged down to this delivery, only deceived by the flight and India’s diminutive wicket keeper collected the ball in a flash and effected a lightning stumping and the stranded Nicholls walked back to the pavilion and Indian players celebrated the Test win at Wankhade stadium, Mumbai yesterday on the 4th day morning  and it was also a series win for India by 1-0. And Indians kept their record of not losing a Test series against Kiwis in India and the Kiwis elusive test series win in India continues..

The Kiwis batters had no clue to the guiles of Indian spinners on a helping track. India’s spin trio attack spearheaded by Ravichandran Ashwin , who claimed 8 wickets in this Test and was ably supported by the Axar and Jayant Yadav, who was a last minute inclusion.  They were skittled out for 62 & 167 runs in this Test handing India their heaviest margin of victory in terms of runs by 372 runs.  And ironically it was also Kiwis worst defeat in Tests.

The Kiwis escaped from the jaws of defeat at Kanpur by the dour  fighting  by the last wicket pair on an unhelping pitch couldn’t repeat the same feat at Wankhede.  The red soil pitch which offered some bounce and turn was too much for the New Zealand batters though their bowling hero, Ajaz Patel’s 14 wickets haul, an outstanding bowling effort including the all time record of 10 wickets in the first innings had no impact on Indian batting line-up.

The batting hero, India’s opener, Mayank’s Century in the first innings ( 150 runs) and well supported by Gill and Axar Patel in the first innings set up a good total of 325 and the Kiwis spineless batting unit collapsed to 62 runs, their lowest score in the recent past.  Then India went on to set an improbable target of 540 runs thanks to a brilliant half century by Mayank Agarwa ( who was awarded MOM award for his batting effort ) l and useful contributions from Gill and Pujara in the second innings.

Then it was the turn of the Indian spinners to pick up wickets at regular intervals and there was some semblance of fight by Kiwis batters in the second essay with D. Mitchell ( who was included in place of their injured skipper Kane Williamson) and Henry Nicholls .  

Statistical delights

  • India inflicted a massive defeat to the Kiwis by 372 runs.  This is India’s record of biggest victory in terms of runs
  • New Zeland’s Left arm spinner, Ajaz Patyel’s 10  wickets in India’s  first innings is a record for their country
  • Ashwin has achieved 300 wickets in home pitches and his scalp of 8 wickets in this Test also saw him getting the PLAYER OF THE SERIES award for the 9th time and his 66 wickets Versus New Zealand is also highest in Tests.
  • Ashwin also achieved another record of 50+ wickets ( 52) in a calender year (2021) for the 4th time.  Previously he claimed 50 wickets in 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2021.

IND- NEW ZEALAND KANPUR TEST 2021

INDIA -NEW ZEALAND FIRST TEST REVIEW 2021

BATATHON Vs BLOCKATHON

Courtesy: cricinfo.com

When the two on- field Umpires called off the play implying there was not sufficient light to continue the play with a few minutes of the play still left on the 5th and final day yesterday of the First Test between India & New zealand , the Kiwis broke India’s record of 14 consecutive tests win or loss at Home. Their last wicket pair of Rachin Ravindra & Ajay Patel held on for a few overs before the play was called off.

The World’s best two Test teams battled for supremacy and the Kiwis, the WTC Champion showed their competitiveness in this Test. 

Again as in the first innings, the Kiwis top order put up a good show as Tom Latham and nightwatchman Somerville, who came at the fall of the first wicket defied the heavy odds and batted on till the lunch break on the final day without being separated.

After lunch, the New Zealand batters fell like ninepins as the Indian spinning trio led by Ravindra Jadeja, the ace spinner Ashwin ( who is now the 3rd leading wicket-taker in Tests for India) and Axar Patel did the damage though the pitch didn’t offer much purchase for the spinners..

In spite of all the wickets falling at the other end, it was the debutant Rachin Ravindra who held the fort at one end.  He batted like a champion as his BLACKATHON saved the Test as the Kiwis were precariously placed at 126/9 before the Umpires called off play.  

It was nothing unusual a Draw at Green Park stadium, Kanpur as out of the 23 Tests played here, there were as many as 13 Tests ( including yesterday’s test) were drawn, accounting for 56.5 % as drawn tests.  But this was the closest Drawn Test in the recent past around the world.

It was the two debutants in this Test viz., Shreyas Iyer, who hit a maiden century in the first innings and half-century in the second innings, and Rachin Ravindra, who stood like a rock of Gibraltar and spoiled the Indian chances of a win.

Shreyas Iyer, who batted like a true champion in this treacherous pitch top-scoring in both innings helped India to almost a win with his BATATHON and Rachin Ravindra with his BLOCKATHON that saved the Test with his obdurate blocking.

It was curious to observe that out of 36 wickets falling in this Test only 4 catches were held by non-wicket keepers and as many as 10 LBWs were claimed by bowlers especially in the second innings of Kiwis when there were 6 LBW dismissals. 

India took a firm lead of 49 runs in the first innings after Shreyas Iyer’s century and half-centuries from opener Shubman Gill and Ravindra Jadeja as the veteran packer  Tim Southee ran through the Indian batting line up with 5fer and Kiwis replied strongly with their openers put up 196 runs for the first wicket and both missed century dismissed in the 90s.  And the chief wrecker was Axar Patel who claimed 5 wickets and Ashwin took 3 wickets restricting them below India’s score.

In the second essay, India did well again though the rate of scoring was slow and declared in the final hours of the 4th day leaving the Kiwis a target of 284 runs.

And both the teams head for Mumbai for the 2nd Test starting on 3rd December.

IRELAND- NEW CRICKET GROUND

IRELAND- DEDICATED  CRICKET GROUNDMalahide-cricket

Cricket chiefs in Ireland are targeting the development of a permanent venue after the country was named as co-hosts of the 2030 ICC T20 World Cup.

Talks have been held between Cricket Ireland and the authorities for three years with a view to the construction of a dedicated facility at the National Sport Campus in Abbotstown. The National Development Plan 2021-2030 (NDP) published last month by the Government referenced a new velodrome and badminton centre at Abbotstown, but while “other projects” were mentioned there was no confirmation about the possibility of a cricket venue being constructed.

Speaking to the Irish Times, Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said that the case for the development of a dedicated stadium has only been strengthened by the prospect of co-hosting the 2030 World Cup along with England and Scotland. At present Ireland is a preferred co-host of the event with the ECB and Cricket Scotland, and ICC officials expect progress to be made in terms of venues and training facilities in the coming years.

Deutrom added in a statement: “We appreciate that there are still a number of details to clarify around hosting arrangements, not just for the co-hosts but also to enable our Government partners to move beyond in-principle support, but today’s announcement gives a greenlight for those discussions to begin in earnest.

“We believe the enormous global exposure of one of the world’s major sporting events will provide a huge boost for not just the sport on this island, but also the country through local economic impact and visibility in major tourism and economic markets.”

In 2021, Ireland played home matches at Dublin’s Malahide (pictured), Clontarf and at two venues in Northern Ireland. Malahide has a capacity of 11,500 and received approval from the ICC to host international matches in 2013.

Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers said: “Ultimately, the ambition of constructing an oval at the National Sports Campus remains, but hosting [World Cup] matches is not dependent on that, and Test matches have been hosted here before in Malahide.

“But I would be hopeful we will have substantially advanced the oval by 2030 and laying down the surface, which takes a number of years to settle, would be the first step.”