A dream realised

Niranjan Shah, the SCA secretary, throws light on the new stadium in Rajkot that is set to host the first ODI between India and England on January 11, 2013. G. Viswanath listens in.

A new, modern cricket stadium has come up on a site owned by the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) about 16 kilometres from Rajkot on the Jamnagar Highway. The stadium has a seating capacity of around 30,000.

The SCA secretary, Niranjan Shah, and his team that includes Madhukar Worah, Bhupat Talatia, Yogesh Shah and Sureshchandra Doshi, are all excited about the new stadium that is nearing completion and is set to host the first one-day international between India and England on January 11, 2013.

The SCA also hosted the Challenger Series at the stadium recently.

Niranjan Shah, who is also a vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, spoke to Sportstar about the stadium.

A dream come true for SCA: When the BCCI urged its member units and even made it mandatory for them to build their own facilities, we began to look for land. The SCA was using the Municipal Corporation-owned stadium, near the Race Course, and we had many problems while staging a one-day international there. We were determined to buy the land first. We saw many places before settling for the land at Khandheri (measuring 30 acres).

I spent a lot of time with a local architect and discussed the various aspects of facilities for the players and spectators. I always wanted the venue to resemble the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai. When the BCCI administration changed in 2006, Sharad Pawar and other office-bearers decided to create a new infrastructure and improve upon the existing ones. We got plenty of money through our marketing initiatives. I think the total cost of the stadium will be around Rs. 75 crores.

A well-equipped venue with practice facilities outside the main stadium: Yes. I have seen many stadiums in India and all over the world. We had sufficient land and opted for a very spacious design and for an obstruction-less view from any seat in the stadium. We also decided to create a smaller and well-maintained ground outside the main stadium so that teams can train and practise anytime.

A fully functional indoor facility: We have completed the indoor facility. It has three pitches and in the near future, it would become fully functional. It is as per the BCCI guidelines. We have enough land to develop more facilities.

Usage of the new ground: We have so many BCCI tournaments and matches during the season. So, the venue and other facilities will be put to optimum use.

The Press Box: That’s very unique. It has the look of the Lord’s Media Centre, but the design is different. Hope it will come out nicely. I am sure the media will be happy.

The prospect of becoming a Test centre: Why not? The BCCI can encourage smaller centres and recognise them as Test match centres.