A proud moment for Jharkhand: MS Dhoni
Ranchi, Jan 18: The Jharkhand State Cricket Association International Stadium has been abuzz with activity as it prepares to host its first international match on January 19, 2013. The day will be etched in the hearts of the people here and especially the ones who have worked hard towards making this day happen when they witness the MS Dhoni-led India team take on England in the third ODI of the five-match series.
The international fixture will truly put Ranchi on the global cricket map. Speaking at the grand inaugural function organized on the eve of the match, local boy and India captain, MS Dhoni, who will be playing an international game for the first time on his home ground, said, “It is a very special day for me. It's the beginning of a new innings tomorrow.”
Besides the Indian skipper and his team, BCCI president Mr. N Srinivasan, Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmed, ECB chairman Giles Clarke and Jharkhand's acting Chief Minister Arjun Munda were among the dignitaries who graced the momentous occasion on Friday evening.
Speaking to bcci.tv earlier in the day, JSCA president, Shri Amitabh Choudhary said, “We chose to have it today because we wanted the presence of both teams and the BCCI president. It has happened because of the support of cricket the fraternity.”
Appreciating the efforts of everyone involved in building the stadium, Dhoni said, “This is made possible by the joint efforts of many people. When I first joined the team, people were asking me the place where I belong to. I used to say I am from India and the next thing I would say I am from Jharkhand, and a place called Ranchi. But then, I would have to explain to many people where exactly Ranchi is. I used to explain Ranchi giving various routes like it is a place closer to Kolkata, near Tatas. Tatas originated from here. We are the richest state in terms of natural resources.”
“After the stadium was built, we are an international venue. Now when we go to cricket playing nations, we won’t have to explain where Ranchi is.”
“It is a proud beginning; proud moment for people of Jharkhand. Now we are looking forward to a lot of support from the people tomorrow. I would like to thank each and everyone who has contributed in the making of the stadium. […] My best wishes to Mr. Amitabh Choudhary for making a very successful stadium; and now it’s up to the people of Jharkhand to make tomorrow’s game very special.”
“All the cricketers have come up to me and said that the facilities and the warmth of this stadium rank among the best in the world,” he said.
Apart from the facilities in the stadium like a gym for cricketers, it is also a friendly and accessible structure for spectators. The ground is surrounded by a moat and there is no fencing. The moat is covered with a net. While speaking about it, the JSCA president told bcci.tv, “The moat doesn’t psychologically remove you from the players. There is no fencing, so you emotionally feel one with the guys who are playing. It is a better thing because the idea is just to restrain the spectator from going on to the field so this is a better option. It’s over three meters wide.”
Dome-like roof tops, add to the grandeur of the stadium. Describing the structure Mr. Choudhary added, “The roof tops are the crowning glory; they are expensive, but worth it. The aesthetics of the stadium, I think, are comparable to the best in the world.”
“The engineering beauty is that not a single spectator will be seated in such manner as not to be able view the whole ground.”
Accessing the ground is not a hassle and that was ensured by Mr. Choudhary and all those who have contributed to making the stadium. “Unlike the other new stadiums that have come up in the country, this is in the city itself; 10 minutes from the airport, and about 15 from the centre of town. That is the first and the most critical feature of the stadium, which is an inherent advantage.”
“This is on a quadrangle, on three sides of which you have four lane roads to access and exit. And thus it ensures that they are absolutely clear and unrestricted.”
“It is not just a stadium, it is a stadium complex. Besides the main ground, there is a second ground, which is a regulation ground and then you have the indoor cricket facility, tennis academy and cricket academy, swimming pool, and all kind of facilities and all kinds of allied sports that we could think of. The main stadium itself has all facilities that you could think of,” Mr Choudhary said.
“We have incorporated a club here on the lines of the CCI [Cricket Club of India]; it’s called the Country Cricket Club. It is not functional yet but it stands incorporated and we hope to get it running soon as the IPL is over, probably from June 1 or something,” he added.
“It means a lot both physically and emotionally. Though the Association is more than 75 years old, we didn’t have a single square inch of our own. So it’s an emotional homecoming in the sense that now you can go back home.”
During the inaugural function later in the evening, while thanking all concerned for their contribution, Mr. Choudhary said, “Jharkhand had been waiting for the day when MS Dhoni would lead India on his home soil. Tomorrow it will be a historic day.”
“I thank Arjun Munda, the acting Chief Minister of the state, for getting the roads to the stadium ready. Today, while walking on these roads one feels like as if one is walking on the best roads of the world,” he added.
Guests were treated to a show by civil aviation aircrafts, followed by a song and dance that showcased Jharkhand’s local folk art. A special stamp was issued to mark the occasion as well.
Speaking on the occasion, the BCCI president said, “I congratulate Amitabh for singlehandedly putting this facility in place”
He added, “England will play in three new venues in this series [Rajkot, Ranchi and Dharamsala] and this reflects the intensity and commitment of all our state associations towards developing and improving cricket in their regions.”
While lauding the stadium as a ‘world-class facility’, the ECB chairman said, “It is a privilege for England to be India's first opponent on this magnificent ground. Thank you for making me a part of this event.”