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At Rajkot, a touch of Lord’s

Devendra Pandey

Posted: Oct 04, 2012 at 0916 hrs IST
      

Rajkot: The arid countryside along the Rajkot-Jamnagar highway might not quite replicate the green, vast meadows back home. But Alastair Cook and his England team are in store for a pleasant surprise once they land up at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium in Khanderi-on the outskirts of Rajkot-for the opening ODI of their five-match series in January. Awaiting the visitors there will be a familiar sight-the spaceship-like media centre that has become an iconic part of the legendary Lord’s venue since its inception in 1999. Well, a replica anyway.

And while Khanderi might not quite be St Johns Wood, SCA’s veteran secretary Niranjan Shah insists that the space model at his ground will house more media personnel than even the original. “I have always liked the press-box at Lord’s and the first design put up in the structural plan for the stadium here was the media-centre. The exterior design might resemble the one there but our’s will provide significantly more space for the media,” says Shah citing the reasons for bringing the ‘home of cricket’ feel to Rajkot.

The 27,000-seater will also replace the erstwhile Madhavrao Scindia Stadium as Rajkot’s official international stadium come January. Not all aspects of the SCA Stadium are borrowed, however. The venue will be one of the few without barricades on the boundary edge as the spectators closest to the ground themselves will be seated close to seven-feet high. Shah also adds that the SCA spent only a fourth of what was splurged for Wankhede.

“It’s taken three years to build this stadium. It felt like building your home,” says Shah. And while the pitches are sure to be alien, the SCA has ensured there will be a home-away-from-home feel for Cook & Co. when they visit in the new year.

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