A new chapter has opened in the history of cricket with the President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurating the world’s largest cricket arena, Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, renamed as Narendra Modi stadium.
The President opened the stadium in the presence of Home Secretary Amit Shah and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju among a host of other dignitaries. It opens with the third test between India and England, a day-night game on Wednesday, and will also host the fourth and final game of the series on March 4.
Spread over 63 acres, the stadium has been constructed at an approximate cost of Rs 800 crore and has a seating capacity of 1,32,000 fans, surpassing the hallowed Melbourne Cricket Ground, which can host up to 90,000.
“The total area is equivalent to 32 Olympic size soccer fields put together,” said a note from the Press Information Bureau providing descriptions of the immense layout.
The facility, which was closed for reconstruction in 2015, saw some significant landmarks in Indian cricket in its previous avatar.
These included Sunil Gavaskar, who crossed 10,000 runs in Test cricket against Pakistan in 1987, and Kapil Dev, who declared his 432nd test wicket to be the top wicket player in the world in 1994, outperforming Sir Richard Hadlee.
The Australian architect Populous, who designed the Melbourne Cricket Stadium, among others, is the architect of the new stadium.
It has 11 pitches, consisting of both red and black dirt, and is the first stadium in the world to use the same soil surfaces for primary and functional pitches.