Referring to the newly revamped Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad as huge is certainly an understatement. It’s gigantic, at times unreal. The first sight of its massive stands, which can accommodate 1,10,000 spectators – 10,000 more than the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground – is bound to intimidate. In fact, as revealed by Hardik Pandya, even for the Indian team, it took almost an hour to get used to the enormity of this world’s largest cricket arena.
“All the boys loved it, I think, for us, it took almost one hour to get used to the size of the ground, the kind of facilities it has provided us, I feel really, really proud that we have this in India,” the all-rounder recently said.
Hence, on Wednesday, when the new-look Motera stadium will host its inaugural international fixture in the form of a day-night Test between India and England, it will definitely unfold a chapter not only just in Indian cricket but in the entire sports fraternity of the country.
Spread in an area of 63 acres, the stadium complex has two other cricket grounds with small pavilions, an Olympic-size swimming pool, indoor gaming facilities along with academies for football, hockey, basketball, kabaddi, boxing, lawn tennis etc. The main clubhouse consists of 55 rooms, a gymnasium, a 3D projector theatre, and a mesmerising ‘Hall of Fame” on the ground floor which is bound to touch the hearts of every cricket fan.
Talking about the field of play, there are as many as 11 centre pitches (with red, black, and mixed soil) on the main ground along with a lush green outfield. The GCA claims that Motera is the only venue in the world where same soil is used for practice as well as centre strips. Also, like any other modern stadiums, the outdoor nets are situated right outside the main playing arena whereas inside there are four dressing rooms along with in-built gymnasiums and all other necessary amenities, including rapid medical check-up facilities as well.
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On the outfield of the main turf, sand has been used underneath the grass. This, along with a state-of-the-art drainage system, will remove the rainwater very quickly and as per the assessments of local GCA officials, there are fewer chances of a match being called off here even after an 8 cm rainfall during the game.
Furthermore, Motera is now the only cricket centre in the country where LED technology has been used on the entire circular roof instead of traditional mast lights for better visibility and to eliminate shadows. So, players are unlikely to face any issue while spotting the ball under artificial lights during the day-night Test.
Meanwhile, spectators will get an uninterrupted view of the action from anywhere in the stands, and under normal circumstances, there will be eateries and hospitality areas in each and every stand. The ground also has 75 corporate boxes with a seating capacity of 25 each. The stadium is quite easily accessible through public transport from anywhere in Ahmedabad but if you are coming to the venue on your own vehicle then you don’t need to worry about parking as the Sardar Patel Stadium complex can accommodate 3000 cars and 10,000 two-wheelers. No other cricket stadium in India has such parking space.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the ground will be half full during the England Tests but in future when things normalise, watching a cricket match in a packed Motera stadium will certainly be on the bucket list of many admirers of the game around the world.