The view of clouds caressing the Shevaroy Hills in the backdrop of The SCF Cricket Ground at Kattuveppilaipatti near Salem is a sight to behold.

Lush vegetation cradling the sides en route and the arrays of palm trees in the vicinity add splendour to the green outfield. Located at a distance of nearly 25 kms from the Salem town, the ground with a play area of 90 meters is the biggest in the State and accommodates five turf wickets. The facility also features 12 practice-turf wickets, players pavilion and press box.

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, who inaugurated the ground on Sunday, said it was located in natural and airy settings, unlike the ones in urban places. “The ground is a pioneering effort for Salem and will be helpful in grooming the cricketers from the district to play at higher levels,” he added.

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Former ICC and BCCI chief N. Srinivasan said: “We look forward to having an IPL match in the near future in this ground. Chennai Super Kings will be keen on having the ground as second home turf.”

Former Indian cricket team captain Rahul Dravid observed that infrastructure being one of the most important aspects in the upbringing of cricket talents, the ground would serve that purpose. “I wish I could have played here, but unfortunately I am too old and not fit enough,” he said in jest, evoking laughter.

“I firmly believe that next generation of young cricketers will surface from smaller towns and cities as powerhouses of talents,” Dravid said.

State ministers, TNCA president Rupa Gurunath, other officials from the TNCA, and functionaries of the Salem District Cricket Association and Salem Cricket Foundation were present at the event.