ARUN JAITLEY STADIUM (FEROZ SHAH KOTLA), DELHI
INDIA GATE , Delhi
Delhi, the capital of India boasts rich cultural history including famous buildings such 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 and 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).
Ferozshah Kotla ground, Delhi
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
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 the 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 current Skipper Virat Kohli, who recently became the most successful Indian captain in Test cricket with 30 wins out of 50 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 an U-19 player to India captain was shown during the event, which was attended by the entire Indian cricket team and support staff.
The ground hosted its first test in 1948 against West Indies, the first test match in post- Independent India.
In the 1952 Test series against Pakistan, 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 Newzeland 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 1983 -84 series against 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 wicket 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.