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Explained: How the biggest cricket stadium in the world at Motera is also the busiest

Why has Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium been picked for the T20 World Cup final? How has Ahmedabad benefitted from Jay Shah becoming Indian board secretary?

Written by Devendra Pandey , Edited by Explained Desk | Mumbai |
Updated: April 20, 2021 7:51:31 am
Narendra Modi Stadium, India Vs England series, Motera Stadium, Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium, Motera Stadium Renamed, Indian ExpressA view from the VIP gallery of the Narendra Modi Stadium, the world's largest cricket stadium. (Express Photo: Nirmal Harindran)

BCCI picking Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium for the T20 World Cup final is no surprise. Ahmedabad has now become the nerve centre of Indian cricket and the entire cricket administration is run from Gujarat. The rise of Jay Shah as BCCI secretary is the main reason.

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How many venues have been shortlisted to host T20 World Cup games?

The Indian board has shortlisted nine venues to host the tournament later this year. They are Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Chennai, Dharamsala, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Delhi. The BCCI has decided that Ahmedabad will host the final of the T20 World Cup.

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Why Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium for the T20 World Cup final?

It’s the largest cricket stadium in the world with a seating capacity of more than 1.30 lakh. It was recently named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Motera is now the home of Indian cricket and though the BCCI headquarters is in Mumbai, nothing moves in Indian cricket until it gets a green signal from Ahmedabad. The reason being that it’s home to board secretary Jay Shah, the most powerful person in Indian cricket at the moment. Jay is the son of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who himself was the president of Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA). In fact, Prime Minister Modi was also once GCA president.

How many international games has Motera hosted till date?

Before 2020, Ahmedabad had hosted 12 Tests, 23 ODIs, and 1 T20Is. It hosted the 2011 World Cup quarter-final between India and Australia. The venue has seen some landmark moments like Sunil Gavaskar breaching the 10,000-Test run mark, a toothy-grinned Kapil Dev watching 432 balloons floating out of the stadium after he went past Richard Hadlee’s record for most Test wickets, Javagal Srinath’s reverse-swinging spell from hell that dismantled South Africa as India defended a modest fourth-innings target, Rahul Dravid’s 11,000th Test run, and Sachin Tendulkar’s 30,000th international run.

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How has Ahmedabad benefitted from Jay Shah becoming Indian board secretary?

Since Jay came to power, Ahmedabad has become the centre of Indian cricket. The stadium hosted the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 knockout games in January this year followed by the pink-ball Test and the fourth Test match against England. It also hosted the five T20Is that followed. It is also scheduled to host all IPL play-offs games, including the final.

Do people in power get a lot of games to their cities?

Yes, it definitely helps. BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal comes from Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) and it’s the main reason Dharamsala has been chosen as one of the T20 World Cup venues.

Rajeev Shukla is another senior BCCI functionary. He is from the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA). UPCA’s headquarters is in Kanpur but it has decided to play the games allotted to it at Ekana Stadium in Lucknow.

It’s not the first time BCCI has seen such a power shift, benefitting a particular venue. When Sharad Pawar was president of Mumbai Cricket Association and the International Cricket Council, Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium hosted the 2011 World Cup final

In the past, BCCI office-bearers in power did ensure they get a big tournament in their backyard. The board used to have fixed Test match venues in the past but in recent times, new venues have been added to ensure Test cricket goes to smaller cities.

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