Lucknow's Ekana Stadium to become India's 52nd cricketing venue

Several roadside vendors selling blue jerseys and the Indian Tricolour outside the stadium was a sight not common for the eyes of a Lucknow resident.

The return of international cricket, in the form of the second T20I between India and the West Indies, is a reason for celebration for the cricket fraternity and ardent fans of the city of Lucknow.   -  PTI

The Ekana Cricket Stadium, the newest cricketing destination in the Uttar Pradesh capital, wore a festive look on the eve of it becoming the 52nd venue in the country to host an international match.

Several roadside vendors selling blue jerseys and the Indian Tricolour outside the stadium was a sight not common for the eyes of a Lucknow resident. Even as Diwali is around the corner, the sale of cricket related stuff was a pleasant variation.

The return of international cricket, in the form of the second T20I between India and the West Indies, is a reason for celebration for the cricket fraternity and ardent fans of the city.

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In the cricket community, the general feeling is positive about the magnificent stadium, which carries elements of the city's Mughal architecture on the outside and boasts of a state-of-the-art sporting venue inside.

“Young players will benefit from the facilities. It is a fantastic stadium which puts Lucknow on the international cricket map. I played Ranji Trophy in Uttar Pradesh at some very poor venues."

“It feels nice that Uttar Pradesh has a modern cricket stadium. Cricket in the state will improve once they use this infrastructure. Camps and competitions will help the game grow. Green Park (in Kanpur) has history, but Ekana Stadium marks the improvisation for players and spectators,” said Rajinder Singh Hans, who played for and coached Uttar Pradesh in the past.

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For aficionados of the game, it's time to rejoice. “Uttar Pradesh is the biggest state and we need such world-class stadiums to cater to our cricket loving public."

“There is no comparison between facilities during the last international match (a Test between India and Sri Lanka) at the K.D. Singh Babu Stadium in 1994 and that of the Ekana Stadium now. It's a matter of pride for everyone in Lucknow,” said A.A. Khan, a cricket fan and an official of the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association.

The new chapter added to the game's history in Lucknow promises to bring more top-level cricket to the city of kebabs.