Ahmedabad: Right a year after former US President Donald Trump was hosted at the Sardar Patel Stadium, India and England will take the field on Wednesday for a day-night Test, the first international match venue 2014 when it temporarily closed for renovation. With the series tied 1-1 and India in a must-not-lose position, the stage is perfect for a grand opening, which is expected to be attended by 55,000 fans.
The roads leading up to the stadium have poles erected on either side, reminding the locals that the Test match returns to Ahmedabad after a gap of nine years. Inside the stadium, hoardings welcome the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, the chief guest for the Test.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground isn’t the biggest in the world anymore. The Sardar Patel Stadium takes the front seat with 1,10,000 capacity. And at some point soon, the venue will make the history books for the most attended cricket match ever. But more than this, the facilities are the ones that stand out.
Four spacious dressing rooms, an indoor arena to do warm-ups without entering the play and a gym have already become players’ favourite. Thanks to the way it is constructed, even fans can see the entire ground without any obstacle. With a vast parking space – 3,000 cars and 10,000 two-wheelers can be parked – and 48 exit points, officials say the stadium can be emptied in 10 minutes. In terms of making the occasion memorable, the venue couldn’t have asked for a better match than this one.
“It is much more challenging to play the new pink ball regardless of the pitch you are playing on. Especially in the evening, say, as a batting team you are starting your innings in the evening under lights, then that one-and-a-half hours is very challenging. Yes, spin will come in for sure, but I don’t think the new ball and the fast bowlers can be ignored. The pink ball does bring them into the game till the ball is nice and shiny. Something we are very well aware of, and we are preparing accordingly,” Kohli said.