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Old April 28th, 2006, 05:32 AM   #28
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nice pictures Hindustani.

meanwhile, here is the second stadium in the ToI series of stadium reviews. This time it is the Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground, Rajkot, Gujarat.


BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah Can’t Do Anything About The Sorry Plight Of The Stadium On His Home Turf

By Lionel Rodricks/TNN

The Rajkot Municipal Stadium, which was grandiosely re-christened Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground recently, is a challenge to afficionados of the game, players and the media alike. It tests everybody’s patience, staying powers and sensibilities to the limit.

The facilities it provides during a Oneday match are depressingly sub-standard and a large number of fans in Rajkot and towns around it say they prefer to watch games on TV.

It’s a crying shame that the best available cricket ground in the region, which had produced the legendary Ranjitsinhji and Duleeepsinhji, should be in such ragged condition. Despite making handsome profits, the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) has done precious little to upgrade the venue. And when you consider that the secretary of the SCA is also the secretary of the BCCI, it makes you wonder.

The ground is small and was apparently built to stage minor tournaments. There is hardly any space between the boundary line and the sitting area. Fielders on the periphery, in fact, have to be very careful about running into people so they often give up the chase a little earlier. The smallness also results in bigscoring, which gives a deceptive idea of batsmens’ prowess.

The saving grace is that the stadium is centrally located, but other factors overshadow this convenience. The good name of Scindia, the former president of the BCCI, is defiled by this dusty, Lilliputian cricket centre, which has had the privilege of hosting some of the biggest names in the game.

The pavilion here is so small and bad that when all the players and officials gather in the dressing rooms, the place resembles a Mumbai local railway platform at peak hour; the food and water facilities are woefully insufficient and the seating arrangements are designed to give the spectator a back and a neckache well before the match has reached its conclusion.

The SCA does not own the stadium, which belongs to the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC), and so the ground is rented out for social activities, where mandaps and the like are constructed on the playing area. The field is thus dug up frequently and though the authorities do a decent repair job, the permanent damage cannot be completely mended.

The platforms on which the TV camera people stand all day look like they will collapse any moment. The scoreboards are small and belong to a different, ancient era.

“Since the venue belongs to the municipal corporation the BCCI does not provide us with maintenance money like it does for venues that own their grounds,’’ says Bharat Shah, president of the SCA.

But this excuse is specious, to say the least. He is mum about the money earned from ODIs. A part of the profits could certainly be used for upgrading the venue. Shah adds: “We are building our own stadium. It will be ready in about two years.’’


2/10 Access to the ground
The stadium is centrally located but there is only one, small gate which is the only entry - and exit - point. There is much pushing and jostling to get in, and then some squeezing and twisting to reach your seat. There aren’t enough ushers or ground personnel in case one requires help.

2/10 Water and food availability
One fan told the TOI: “We are not allowed to carry anything inside the venue — and we get nothing inside!’’ Spectators have to make their way outside the ground, through that little exit gate, to quench their thirst or whet their appetites. Which is easier said than done. The fare available during the break is also of poor quality.

3/10 Seating comforts
The seats are hard and most are even rickety. The SCA president says: “If we put sofas then we will have to accommodate a smaller crowd. As it is, this ground has a poor capacity — 13-14,000.’’ To compound matters, the chairs are tightly squeezed into a small area and sitting in the cramped place becomes an ordeal for the cricket lover.

2/10 Toilets
Two young women of Rajkot confessed to the TOI that they do not go to the Madhavrao Scindia ground because the temporary toilets constructed during matches make for embarrassing scenes. Even the permanent toilets, in the pavilion and dressing rooms, are poorly maintained and difficult to access. There is no concrete, permanent urinal outside the pavilion — where more than 95% of the crowd sits.

6/10 Overhead protection
Apparently costs are uppermost in the minds of the organisers when contracts are given, for the stands and shades for spectators provide minimum of protection from the sun. The conditions in the stands exemplify the indifference that many cricket associations have for the paying public.

5/10 Outfield and pitch
The main pitch is full of runs and good for ODIs but the outfield has become uneven and rough because of non-cricket activities on the ground. The practice pitches are too few and in a shabby state. Consequently, nets the day before a match are an exercise that the teams go through just for the sake of it.

3/10 Dressing rooms and facilities for players
The pavilion isn’t a pavilion in the conventional sense of the word. It’s a concrete structure that has two rooms (dressing rooms), a minuscule balcony, two other compartments for TV and radio. It’s obvious that when it was built, and renovated over the years, neither was any foresight applied nor a professional engaged to see that the players, umpires, officials and media persons needs were catered to.

The small ground at Rajkot ensures a free-for-all even before a game starts. Spectators are almost within handshaking distance from players at training sessions. Please take a look at the nets.

This story and another story i posted in another thread of the KD Singh Babu stadium in Lucknow tell me something. Both the stadiums are owned by the municipal corporations respectively, and since we know municipalities have no money, they can't do anything to maintain it. In case of UP, they didnt let the cricket association hold two important matches for some stupid egoistic reason.

of course, the other sad situation is when sports associations prefer to spend all the money they earn on themselves rather than the athletes and facilities, and this is the case all over the country. And this is BCCI, the supposed puppetmaster of international cricket. One cant be blamed for wondering where all the millions earned go.

And notice the sad state of affairs when it comes to toilets everywhere. crying shame.
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