WANKHADE STADIUM, MUMBAI

Wankhade Stadium, Mumbai

Boom Boom

All the eyes in the ground and people glued  over to TV channels were on the ball sent by the Indian Captain M.S. Dhoni in the 2011 World Cup Final against Srilanka and they all heaved a sigh of relief when  it cleared the rope and there were jubilations all over the ground and the players rushed to the field to congratulate Dhoni and Yuvraj who were at the crease. And India won the World cup 2nd time after a gap of 28 years. This was one of the familiar scenes at Wankhade Stadium, Mumbai. 

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 in India.  And then it used Brabourne stadium for 17 tests.

After a conflict with Cricket Club of India at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, the Mumbai Cricket Association wanted to have its own stadium.

The Seshrao Krushnarao Wankhade Stadium was built in 1975 owned by Mumbai Cricket Aassociation constructed at a cost of Rs.1.87 crore in a record time of 11 months and 23 days.

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 rompedhome 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.

Important Matches

India recorded its first win here in 1976 against Newzeland by 162 runs. 

in 1978-79 series Sunil Gavaskar played a captain’s knock of 205 runs and his counterpart Alvin Kalicharan also played a magnificent 187 runs and the test ended in a tame draw. In the Golden Jubilee one-off Test in 1980, it was Ian Botham’s Test who took 13 wickets and scored a century to set up an easy win for England by 10 wickets.

The visiting Aussies were piped at the post by just 13 runs when chasing just 104 runs when the Indian spinners took 18 wickets of the Aussies in 2004 though the Aussies won the 3 test  series by 2-1. 

A heart breaking Test was played between the hosts and West Indies in 2011which ended in a Draw with both teams tied on equal runs.The last Test played here in 2016 When Alastair cook’s team for a 5 match series for the fourth test when India mauled them with captain Kohli hit the highest Indian test score of 235 to set up a win with a whopping margin of an Innings  & 36 runs.

NORTH STAND GANG

At Level three blocks  G & H, which have a straight view of the pitch, the spectators formed a gang called North stand gang.  There’s only one condition to join the Gang.  ” You have to be loud and keep chanting. Want innovative chants ” Liri lara layo, haiyo, haiyo, chakala makala , chakala makola, hoo ha hoo ha”.  They mean nothing but they get the crowd going.   In Dec.2016 Test Vs England this Gang was perfectly synchronised, turning up in Identical T-shirts, designed by one of the gang members, Vipul Yadav, recount the history of Wankhade stadium.  They also had 5 banners all signed by Sachin Tendulkar.  They were close to 40 people, may seem a small number but it is enough to create raucous. Herd mentality does the rest.  This gang even earned the respect of Barmy Army of England Fans during the Dec. Test.  So impressed was the Army by the gang’s gusto, they presented the Gang with an England flag signed by the entire contingent and their official book of chants.  The North stand Gang in turn gave the Barmy Army one of their T-shirts. It was validation of the sort these fans had never expected.

RENOVATION

Originally Wankhade had 13 acres which dwindled to 7.5 acres after space was allotted for the Garware club house. In 2008, MCA decided to upgrade the stadium to host World cup final 2011.  The two of 4 stands (North & South) was completely demolished and rebuilt and the remaining two were upgraded to match the newstands.  The roofing system was also upgraded to a cantilevered type so as to eliminate the supporting columns to facilitate obstruction free viewing.  The ground was also upgraded and fitted with an underground sprinkler system and drainage system also improved. The hard benches were replaced by bucket seats . Additionally 60 Corporate Press  boxes were provided around the circumference as well as air-conditioned press box to hold 250 media personnel.

PITCH

The seaside (Arabian sea) situated means that the swing bowlers get a fair amount of assistance during early part of each day.  Red soil is used to prepare the pitch which ensures consistence bounce.  Pitch has also been a slow turner.  It had been traditionally been full of runs but also helped the spinners during the last couple of days.

RECORDS

Virat Kohli who played 4 tests till date here has the best batting average of 72.17 runs scoring one century with 235 as highest score in this ground.

Sunil Gavaskar has the best aggregate of 1122 runs in 11 tests. He hit 5 centuries

Sachin Tendulkar with aggregate of 921 runs with a solitary century.

Highest aggregate in Tests – 1448 runs in Ind Vs WI in Nov.2011

Anil Kumble with 38 wickets in 7 matches is the leading wicket taker

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

End names :  Garware Pavilion end  and Tata end

IPL Connection

Mumbai Indians home ground, Wankhade witnessed some glorious matches finishes in IPL history.  They won the IPL title 5 times under Rohit sharma, including the win in 2020 at a tense final when they won against Deli Capitals, who reached the finals for the first time.

TENDULKAR’s MONTH

Sachin Tendulkar made Debut in November 1989 at Karachi and ended his international career in November 2013.

Queer Statistics of Tendulkar (Batting in Tests)

  • His career best of 241 runs was made against Australia in Sydney in 2004 and it was one of his favourite grounds where his aggregate in Tests was 785 runs with 3 centuries
  • His highest aggregate in Tests in Away series was Colombo ( played in 3 grounds) was 1027 runs with 5 centuries ,4 at SSC and 1 at RPS stadium
  • Chennai (India) was his favourite ground In India like Sunil Gavaskar, where his aggregate was 970 runs with 5 centuries and his 4 centuries brought victory for India and his fighting century against Pakistan in 1999 only ended in loss for India.
  • His First international century at Old Trafford, Manchester in 1990 was a watershed in his career, which saved India from defeat. Coming at the age of 17 years was a remarkable achievement and he still holds the record of Youngest indian to score a century in tests. . And he went on to score 100 International centuries in his career, which is a world record till today.

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