The city of Rajkot is situated only sixty miles from Jamnagar, the hometown of the first two Test cricketers from India. Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, batsman par excellence and inventor of the leg-glance, was followed into the England side by his nephew Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji, the silken touch artiste.
The first game of the five-match ODI series will mark the international debut of the Saurashtra Cricket Association’s new stadium, which is situated at Khandheri, on the outskirts of Rajkot city.
The old stadium, named after former BCCI President Madhavrao Scindia, hosted twelve ODIs from 1986-87 to 2009-10. The venue witnessed some high-scoring games. New Zealand scored 349-9 in 1999-00 and restricted India to 306. The last two ODIs to be played at the venue were particularly nightmarish for the bowlers. Yuvraj Singh’s unbeaten 138, and belligerent fifties by Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, took India to a score of 387-5 against England in 2008-09. Having no option but to attack, England were dismissed for 229. The ODI against Sri Lanka in December 2009 was an incredible game of cricket. Sehwag (146), Sachin Tendulkar (69) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (72) blasted away at the top of the order, and took India to 414-7. Tillekaratne Dilshan proceeded to match the Indians stroke-for-stroke, and he was brilliantly backed by first Upul Tharanga and then Kumara Sangakkara. Sri Lanka needed 99 from 81 balls with nine wickets in hand, and a shock win seemed imminent, when Sangakkara was caught by local boy Ravindra Jadeja off Praveen Kumar, for 90, scored off only 43 deliveries. That proved to be the turning point, as India clawed their way back into the game. The Sri Lankans however fought till the very end, and were 411-8 at the end. Dilshan top-scored with 160.