Cricket enthusiasts in Surat have been deprived of watching international matches in their city so far. But their wait may soon come to an end,as the Surat District Cricket Association (SDCA) is all set to revamp the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium.
The SDCA has earmarked Rs 12 crore for the renovation of the stadium,which has hosted several Ranji,Irani and Duleep Trophy matches in the past.
In a bid to host international matches,the stadium will get floodlights as well as a state-of-the-art pavilion just opposite the old one. The proposed pavilion will have nearly 100 AC cabins for cricket boards officials,the media and other VIP guests.
Gujarat is the only state to have three cricket associations Gujarat,Saurashtra and Vadodara affiliated to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
While Ahmedabad,Rajkot and Vadodara have played host to a few one-day international matches,Surat,which is affiliated to GCA,has never hosted one. The SDCA had even contemplated to snap its ties with the GCA for the latter’s inability to get international matches for Surat. Reacting to this,GCA president Narhari Amin said: The GCA doesnt have the authority to decide the venue for an international match. It is up to the BCCI to finalise the venue.
Hanif Patel,secretary SDCA,said that Surat has not been able to host any international match so far despite having a ground of international standard. We have already set up two dressing rooms of international class,which are probably among the best in India. We are hopeful of getting international matches now.
The SDCA has not only started building international standard dressing rooms and pavilion,but is also focusing on other sports. We will be spending nearly Rs 10 crore to set up facilities for other sports,including badminton,volleyball and athletics, said Dinesh Zaveri,SDCA member.
It is constructing a new pavilion,which will house three badminton courts,six table tennis tables,three billiard tables,a squash court,a 32-room hotel,three restaurants and an activity room. A skating rink and volleyball court have already been set up.