The last time Green Park stadium in Kanpur hosted a one-day international in 2013, Shikhar Dhawan blasted the West Indian bowlers out of the match with a stylish hundred. If he were to play at the same venue today, under floodlights, the innings would come under a huge shadow — literally.
About a year-and-a-half ago, the Uttar Pradesh government, which maintains the stadium, came up with a plan to build a new stand with a special VVIP box for the likes of the chief minister. It went ahead with its plan but overlooked a basic problem.
The new VVIP box, called the ‘Director Stand’, today stands between one of the floodlight towers and the playing arena. As a result, even if all the floodlight towers are working, one-fourth of the ground still remains in the dark.
The floodlight towers were erected in 2006 at the cost of Rs 5.25 crore with the hope that the ground, which has hosted 21 Tests and 13 ODIs, will finally get to see a day-night contest. But that dream will have to wait a while now.
Usha Lal, regional sports officer at the Green Park stadium, said, “We have realised our mistake and government has been informed about this goof-up. Nobody realised the problem until the structure was complete.”
“We have written to our higher authorities. It’s a technical thing and the authorities have said they are looking into the matter,” Lal said.
Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) secretary Rajeev Shukla blamed the state government for the problem and said it was in talks with the state government to take over the stadium. The Green Park, for the record, is the only international venue in India which is not owned by the concerned state cricket association.
“We are in talks with the UP government for a MoU under which we will maintain the ground throughout the year. The matter will come during UP’s cabinet meeting soon. We will be changing the floodlights so that we can host day-night games in future,” Shukla said.
Installation of the new floodlights is estimated to cost Rs 10 crore.
Interestingly, when UPCA sought to conduct day-night ODIs at the venue few years ago, the Indian cricket board had refused permission, saying it wanted the association to first conduct domestic one-dayers under lights.