Green Park braces up to share the IPL spotlight

For the fans in Kanpur and nearby, it is an opportunity to soak in the IPL, its glamour and the cricket, which, hitherto, they have been only following on the small screen. Going by the demands for tickets and complimentaries, it is obvious that the scorching conditions are not going to be a deterrent.

Green Park... all set to join the IPL cavalcade.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Searing heat is a daunting challenge in and around the Green Park here. There is very little green about the venue and the city. Once hailed as the Manchester of East, it has failed to keep pace with the times. However, the advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has galvanised the local cricket fans and administration into action. Floodlit cricket is a novelty in this part of the country even as Kanpur looks to join the T20 cavalcade by hosting two IPL matches on May 19 and 21, involving Gujarat Lions, Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians.

Kanpur is the adopted home of Gujarat Lions and features some prominent local cricketers, notably Suresh Raina and Praveen Kumar. The two have spent many days and months together at training camps and competitions at this venue, learning the basics of the game and then becoming a regular member of the Uttar Pradesh squad.

Cricket culture may not have been a strong point of UP cricket, but keeping in tune with the flavour of the state there is a surge in the number of youngsters now wanting to emulate the likes of Raina, Kumar, Piyush Chawla (Knight Riders) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Sunrisers Hyderabad).

Fond and not so fond memories

For Raina and Praveen, the two matches here would rekindle some fond, and not so fond, memories of their grooming process at the Green Park. Growing up in unfriendly conditions, having to combat hardships at every step, the two were honed by the harsh realities. Both remember the basic infrastructure that was at their disposal when chasing their dreams. Not much has changed at the Green Park but Raina and Praveen have done well for themselves.

Glamour at the Green Park may be an anomaly, for it continues to present an appalling picture. G. R. Visvanath, the artist who made his Test debut here in 1969 with a century against Australia, would be shocked to discover that most things here are just the same as it was then. The Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) has sorely lacked in creating a self-owned stadium but it has a Memorandum of Understanding with the local government to conduct matches at a venue which is among the five permanent Test centres of the Board.

The chaos that greets you at the Green Park indicates the state of affairs of this city. Modernisation is an aberration here, and the organisers would keep their fingers crossed and pray for the smooth conduct of the two fixtures involving some big names in world cricket. IPL is about a commercial mix of cricket and glamour that creates a nice potion of entertainment.

For the fans in Kanpur and nearby, it is an opportunity to soak in the IPL, its glamour and the cricket, which, hitherto, they have been only following on the small screen. Going by the demands for tickets and complimentaries, it is obvious that the scorching conditions are not going to be a deterrent.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :