ICL: Indian Cricket League


A stadium in Guyana, made by India

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Team India may be gearing up to open its West Indies campaign in Jamaica on May 18, but another Indian cricket story is nearing its final chapter a quick hop across the Caribbean Sea.

In five months, Guyana, the land of Rohan Kanhai, Alvin Kallicharran and Clive Lloyd, will have a world-class cricket stadium ready to host a World Cup match next year with funds from the Indian government and built by Mumbai-based construction major Shapoorji Pallonji & Co ltd.

Probably the first such cricket venture of this nature, the 15,000-seater stadium is expected to be ready for action by October 31. And, the Guyanese government hopes that it will be inaugurated by Indian Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in November.

“The total cost of construction is expected to be around $ 30-32 million. The Indian government has given a grant of $ 6 million and extended a line of credit for another $ 19 million,” Guyana High Commissioner to India J Ronald Gajraj told The Sunday Express.

“Work is 60 per cent over, and on schedule. The stadium will have all mandatory facilities stipulated by the International Cricket Council (ICC), including a Central Medical Unit, a gymnasium, drainage, etc,” he added.

Located in Providence, about 9 km south of the capital, Georgetown, the stadium will have three major stands and a grass mound that can accommodate 4,000 people. “There will be food and beverages stalls and even corporate boxes,” said Gajraj.

“The present stadium in Georgetown (the Bourda) is not equipped to handle a World Cup match. We needed to have better facilities, especially drainage,” he added. The Bourda, which hosted its first Test in 1930, is one of the oldest grounds in the region and probably the only international cricket venue in the world below sea level.

The first step towards the new stadium was taken over three years ago when Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo visited India, and met President APJ Abdul Kalam and senior government officials. “One of the many issues discussed was the stadium and the Indian government agreed to help,” added Gajraj.

The money deal was signed on November 11, 2004 and work started six months later. “Though it has been a challenging task, the company has maintained its schedules, despite some logistics issues,” say sources at Shapoorji Pallonji.

The next step, of course, is naming the arena, which is now referred to as the Providence Cricket Stadium. “We are discussing with Indian officials on an appropriate name,” said Gajraj. Guyana is also planning to get an India A team over to set the first ball rolling with a match against the home side. And then, the World Cup.

Source:India Sports

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