Rajkot Municipal Ground in a sorry state

The Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground, or the Rajkot Municipal Ground which hosted ODIs till 2009, feels uninviting to the modern-day cricketer used to top-notch facilities, with the outfield looking like it has not seen water since the monsoon ended.

While upgradation of facilities could have solved some of the aesthetic problems, one understands there are bigger issues that unfortunately can’t be solved by a makeover.   -  S. Dipak Ragav

Just as the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium in Rajkot finished holding its first Test match, what once used to be the epicentre of the sport in the city lies in a sorry state.

The Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground, or the Rajkot Municipal Ground which hosted ODIs till 2009, feels uninviting to the modern-day cricketer used to top-notch facilities, with the outfield looking like it has not seen water since the monsoon ended.

Even domestic cricket’s visits have reduced over time and only thanks to the Test match, it is currently hosting the Ranji Trophy match between TN and Bengal. The venue is where every Saurashtra cricketer including Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja plied their trade on.

While the maiden Test was a landmark moment for the city, there was lot of discussion about the sparse crowds in the new stadium situated 13 km away from the city. One could not stop wondering what would have been the response if it were held in a stadium in the middle of the city.

The stadium is nestled amidst sporting complexes on all sides, with an astroturf hockey pitch, an aquatics centre and tennis courts surrounding it even as one could see flights take off and land behind the far end.

One of the most striking aspects when looking at the pavilion is the presence of the old third umpire traffic-light style signalling system that might confound the new generation fans used to giant screens.

While upgradation of facilities could have solved some of the aesthetic problems, one understands there are bigger issues that unfortunately can’t be solved by a makeover. Apart from a small holding capacity, the ground also suffers from issues ranging to lack of parking space to limited entry points and being on the main arterial roads that could choke traffic on match days.

But with better care, the stadium that has murals of some of the top cricketers the region has produced in the walls near the entrance gate, can act as an inspiration for the next generation of cricketers while ensuring young kids don’t have to trek a long way to play at a decent sized-stadium.