Gujarat, India, seems to have a growing penchant for the tallest and the largest structures in the world. While, last year, the state became home to the world's tallest statue - Statue of Unity (182 - meter- tall) - dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, in 2020 it is all set to be home to the world's largest cricket stadium. The Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium in Motera - Ahmedabad, with a seating capacity of 1,10,000 surpassing that of Australia’s Melbourne Cricket Ground - currently the biggest cricket stadium in the world with a seating capacity of 1,00,024 - is nearing completion. Expected to be ready by early next year, plans are afoot to hold Asia XI - World XI, T20, provided International Cricket Council gives its approval.
Designed by Populus, the architecture firm that designed Australia’s Melbourne Cricket Ground, the new Sardar Patel stadium is being constructed by Larson and Toubro (L&T) which is also responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of Statue of Unity, at an estimated cost Rs 700 crore. The Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium, popularly known as Motera Stadium, in its new life will be spread over 63 acres, with 76 corporate boxes, 50 rooms, four dressing rooms, three practice grounds, an indoor cricket academy, a club house, olympic-size swimming pool and a parking area which can hold around 3,000 cars and nearly 10,000 bikes. The stadium will also have excellent ‘sub-surface’ drainage facilities that will help dry out the outfield within 30 minutes. There is also provision for solar power generation in the stadium premises in order to utilise sustainable power and 65 rainwater harvesting pits.
The Motera Stadium will have a huge ramp that has been designed to facilitate movement of around 60,000 people simultaneously. A proposed sky-walk will allow the crowd to directly enter the stadium within 300 metres from disembarking at the metro stations. This will eliminate the need to get on the roads, easing congestion. The new stadium will house two large seating tiers, each with approximately 50,000 general admission seat capacity. The seating bowl has been so designed that it provides each spectator with a full unobstructed view of the field.
The stadium which was demolished in October 2015 to allow for a large scale renovation will have LED lights instead of the usual floodlights. A first of its kind design in India, this will be yet another unique feature of the refurbished stadium. The LED lights will be installed on an anti-bacterial, fire proof canopy with PTFE membrane that will cover 30 metres of the total 55 metres breadth of sitting area.
For cricket enthusiasts and fans who love the game of spin and swing, Motera - the world's largest cricket stadium - will have 11 cricket pitches. Some pitches will be prepared with red soil, while some will be with black soil and some may have a mix of both. There will be bouncy as well as spin friendly pitches along with sporting pitches based on the requirement.
The old Motera, that came up in 1982, has been witness to many a historical moments of Indian cricket. It was at Motera stadium where in 1987 the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, playing against Pakistan, completed his 10,000 runs in Test Cricket. Also the Haryana Hurricane - Kapil Dev - scaled his 432nd wicket in Test Cricket to surpass Sir Richard Hadlee's record. There are many more feats that this stadium has been a witness to, the list would be incomplete without mentioning Sachin Tendulkar's record. It was here that Tendulkar became the first-ever cricketer to score 18,000 runs in one-day cricket in a match against Australia during 2011 Cricket World Cup.
With the new and the world's largest cricket stadium likely to hold the Asia XI-World XI T20 match, in March 2020, a cricket loving nation can hope to see many more histories being created at Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium, Motera - Ahmedabad.
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