Build Cricket Centres not Stadiums – Aakash Chopra

by Gilbert Keith

This is so classic India, it’s not even funny.

Build Cricket Centres not Stadiums – Aakash Chopra:

"The Himachal Pradesh team played a Ranji Trophy game at [Ranchi] about a month ago and I can vouch for its services, which are first-rate. The dressing rooms are not only spacious but also very comfortable, with a provision for ice- and steam baths in the bathrooms attached. The practice facilities, at the back of the stadium, are of good quality (about eight practice pitches), while a small field in the premises comes in handy for fielding drills and open net sessions. There’s also an indoor cricket academy and a residential facility. All of this in a stadium in one of the smaller cities is pleasantly surprising.

Fortunately, though, stadiums like this aren’t an aberration in India anymore. All the new ones are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, at least for the players. […] but the fad of building such stadiums is getting to be a bit of an obsession. […] In Maharashtra, Nagpur has two, Mumbai three. Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have two each. In a country that has 27 teams […] there are as many as 42 international stadiums.

[…] While there’s no denying that if put to good use, these stadiums can be breeding grounds for the Dhonis and Cheteshwar Pujaras of the future, it’s important to find out if the investments involved, usually in excess of Rs 100 crore (approximately $18 million), are yielding the right results. These stadiums must make both financial sense […]and practical sense, in terms of the access players enjoy to the facilities at these grounds through the year.


The square and outfield in these stadiums are looked after, but most other parts, except the indoor practice facility and the gym – if there is one – remain under lock and key. At most grounds, the training facilities are adjacent to the main stadium and are put to good use throughout the year, but the main outfield is completely out of bounds.

In fact, most groundsmen are so finicky, they don’t even allow the home Ranji team to have fielding and training sessions on the main ground during the preparatory camps ahead of the season, let alone permitting them to play on the square before matches. They view the ground as a showpiece, which must be unveiled only when the arc lights are on and the world is watching. At times like these you wonder if calling a stadium a team’s home is even partially correct, for you are as much an outsider as your opponent is."

Gautam Kandlikar