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. 

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