The Story of Hyderabad’s Brand New International Cricket Stadium

Posted on Nov 14 2005 - 6:51am by

The International Cricket Stadium in Uppal, Hyderabad is now the ‘Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium’ and not the ‘Visaka International Stadium’ as it was named an year ago. With Congress party at the helm in Andhra Pradesh, the Hyderabad Cricket Association was pushed to name the stadium after the late Rajiv Gandhi, Former Prime Minister by a State Government Order.

This brand new stadium is all set to catch cricket followers’ imagination as it hosts its first ever One Day International Match between India and South Africa on the 16th of November. Nineteen thousand tickets and eight thousand complimentary passes have already been exhausted and this is just the beginning stage of a spectacular stadium that is standing at Uppal, Hyderabad. More and more features like the Flood Lights would be soon up. Let’s hope that this Stadium shall live upto the high expectations of seeing this as the best in the country.to pay back the entire amount to Visaka. H.C.A infact got away from a clause which says that it has to pay six times of Rs. 6.5 crores for any change in the name of the stadium. That was because of G.Vinod, who is the H.C.A. President, who is the Labour Minister in the State Government and ironically is an integral part of the Visaka Industries owned by his brother.

The Stadium no doubt has all the potraits starting with Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, one thought it was just matter of time before the potraits of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi as well are kept in the stadium. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S.Rajasekara Reddy has the uncanny knack of naming everything in Andhra Pradesh after either Rajiv Gandhi or Indira Gandhi. Hope the name ‘Andhra Pradesh’ is not renamed after some of the greats! H.C.A has one more thing to do apart from the Stadium work, it needs to quickly modify the graphic image present on its homepage of its official website. You find ‘Welcome to our Website’ which is all fine but below it is Visaka International Cricket Stad (the rest of the letters are cut because of the Stadium’s shape). There are lot of things to be done because it’s not easy when you are forced to do some ‘Tughlaq’ things!

It’s one major step backwards for the Hyderabad Cricket Association!

Visaka Industries had released HCA Rs. 4.3 crores out of the decided deal of Rs. 6.5 crores for having its name incorporated with the Stadium and now that its name has been stripped off to give way to ‘Rajiv Gandhi’, HCA has to pay back the entire amount to Visaka. H.C.A infact got away from a clause which says that it has to pay six times of Rs. 6.5 crores for any change in the name of the stadium. That was because of G.Vinod, who is the H.C.A. President, who is the Labour Minister in the State Government and ironically is an integral part of the Visaka Industries owned by his brother. The Stadium no doubt has all the potraits starting with Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, one thought it was just matter of time before the potraits of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi as well are kept in the stadium. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S.Rajasekara Reddy has the uncanny knack of naming everything in Andhra Pradesh after either Rajiv Gandhi or Indira Gandhi. Hope the name ‘Andhra Pradesh’ is not renamed after some of the greats! H.C.A has one more thing to do apart from the Stadium work, it needs to quickly modify the graphic image present on its homepage of its official website. You find ‘Welcome to our Website’ which is all fine but below it is Visaka International Cricket Stad (the rest of the letters are cut because of the Stadium’s shape). There are lot of things to be done because it’s not easy when you are forced to do some ‘Tughlaq’ things!

 The Hyderabadis just love their Cricket

Anyway the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium is located in Uppal, roughly one and half kilometers from Tarnaka. It’s definitely not located in the heart of the city as the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium which is in Basheerbagh. But that doesn’t deter the crazy Hyderabadi fans who flocked in huge numbers (20,000 every day) to witness a first class match. Hyderabadis give huge support to sports whether it is Sania Mirza or the Indian Cricket team. The L.B.Stadium which used to previously host International Cricket Matches is not owned by H.C.A but belongs to the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh. One thing I always wanted to share this point about Hyderabadis is that they are too much into cricket that they behave exactly like a cricket fan does but not just in a Cricket Stadium but also in a Tennis Stadium. The fans who just love Sania went on with their ‘plastic bottles music’ hitting the chairs and the chanting of their favourite’s names during volleys of the game. So much so that the great Martina Navratilova stated that she would never ever come back to play tennis in Hyderabad. Little do the innocent fans know that noise isn’t supposed to be a part of a Tennis Match and to be fair to Hyderabadis they are only new to Tennis and they only know to create electric atmosphere in a stadium after having got used to the sixy hitting from the Sachins, Sehwags, Gangulys, Dravids, Yuvrajs in Hyderabad before.

Hyderabad has become a centre for major Sporting activities

Back to the Cricket Stadium and the Hyderabad Cricket Association under the leadership of its Hon. President G.Vinod and Hon. Secretary Shivlal Yadav always wanted a Stadium of its own and they have succeeded in having one at last. Shivlal Yadav in an interview with Cricketfundas.com told “there were quite a few challenges that we had encountered right from legal point of view because the land was allotted to us by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh. Then thereafter there was a court case pending from the lower court. In fact we went from the lowest court to the highest court and till Supreme Court we had gone for this case. Some how we had overcome all of that and now the stadium is standing there at Uppal”. Yes certainly the biggest thing for owning a stadium was acquiring sufficient land. H.C.A and the cricket fans in Hyderabad were lucky enough to acquire land from the then Telugu Desam State Government in Chandrababu Naidu’s tenure. Hyderabad has been buzzing with sporting activities since the last four years with major events like the National Games, Afro Asian Games and not to forget about the few ATP Tennis Tourneys that have come to the city. This has been because of the construction of numerous stadiums by the then Chandrababu Naidu’s government. Yes Hyderabad has certainly made its mark on the Global Sports Map.

The Stadium comes into shape slowly but steadily
 
 Things started to happen for the HCA as it got an opportunity to host the warm up 4-day game scheduled to be played from September 30 – 2nd October for the visiting Australians against Mumbai. But unfortunately the Stadium wasn’t ready to host such an important match according to the Australian Officials who had inspected the Stadium. It was February 2004 and after some basic constructions like the Players’ Dressing Rooms and other important aspects, HCA got the Stadium in all readiness for the Duleep Trophy match between the Sachin Tendulkar led West Zone and the Rahul Dravid led South Zone. Each day saw about 20,000 crowd rushing in to see this star studded match. Although the biggies like Sachin, Rahul, VVS flopped…Hyderabad fans got to watch quite an intriguing contest. After the success of its 1st ever first class game, H.C.A. got a second chance by getting to host the warm up One Dayer between Pakistan and India A. For this match, television rights had been sold to a local channel and tickets were issued to the common public. There was lots of expectations on the part of H.C.A to make some funds through the revenue coming out from the tickets sale. But all that went in vein as the Hyderabad Junta didn’t bother to turn up to this game as there were no real favourites for the crowd to watch. All in all just about 1500 had attended that game and that includes a huge presence of security personnel, media and the officials! But this match between India and South Africa looks promising for the H.C.A and its just the start for them in making this a world class Test stadium in the coming future.

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