The narrow lane leading to the Arun Jaitley Stadium from the Khooni Darwaza, where Mughal princes were executed during the 1857 mayhem, is flanked by the Tri-colour that rises up to the boundary walls.
There is a buzz; security is being beefed up. It is clear that something big is around the corner.
The ODI Cricket World Cup will be hosted by India, and also by Delhi, for the fourth time in history.
The first Cricket World Cup in India took place in 1987 and Delhi managed to host one game. India won that match against Australia by 66 runs. The next World Cup game came to Delhi in 1996. This time India lost, to Sri Lanka by six wickets.
In 2011, the third occasion when World Cup came to India, the hosting venues got multiple World Cup matches. So did the Ferozeshah Kotla, which got four, including one between India and Netherlands which the home team won as expected.
Overall, the Capital has hosted six 50-over World Cup matches featuring eight teams. The teams batting second have won four of these matches.
This time, Delhi is playing host to five matches including one between India and Afghanistan, which promises to be a tight game and was sold out very quickly. The number of matches is the most hosted by it in a single edition just like in the case of most venues. Five matches per venue was a privilege enjoyed only by Bengaluru back in 2011.
The first match at Arun Jaitley Stadium’s Ferozeshah Kotla grounds is between South Africa and Sri Lanka on October 7 (Saturday), followed by the India-Afghanistan match on October 11 (Wednesday), England-Afghanistan on October 15, Australia-Netherlands on October 25 and Bangladesh-Sri Lanka on November 6.
There has been a massive renovation work at the stadium, with 34,469 chairs being replaced, new full cover which can cover the ground in seven minutes, toilets refurbished with special facilities for women and children, new air-conditioning plant and whitewash. Free water will also be provided to fans.
As many as four new pitches have been laid.
Curator Ankit Datta told Patriot, “We have added two new pitches on the centre and one each in the two practice areas.”
It means that the square has been increased to five pitches to provide options not just at this World Cup but also in future.
“In future, if there are women’s domestic matches or teams wanting centre-wicket practice, we can use these pitches,” added Datta.
The three centre pitches will be used for matches as usual.That apart, the grass has also been relaid.
“The police arrangements have been good in recent times. There is limited parking. We are encouraging people to use metro since it is at a walking distance from the stadium. Metros will run till 12 midnight. It is convenient,” said Joint secretary Rajan Manchanda.
He added that the rush will only be during India-Afghanistan match.
“There is also arrangement at Raj Ghat and near Bal Bhawan, from where buses will pick the spectators. So, I don’t think there will be much problem related to parking except for one match – India vs Afghanistan, when there will be huge rush. We will manage that.”