The game'S not the same at the Kotla any more.
The track itself may remain unchanged in character, despite declarations to the contrary by the curator, but much else has changed.
The outfield is lusher than ever before, the new dressing rooms and pavilion are unbelievably altered from the past, and the corporate boxes are surprisingly classy. The crowd capacity has been hiked up from 27,000, and each of the 46,000 spectators at the ground will get plastic bucket seats, none of them will have their bottoms frozen or fried in accordance with the whims of nature.
Three years of work is finally coming to a close, and just a few cosmetic changes need to be made. It has come at a cost --- by the time the electronic scoreboard is installed, the complete bill of the enterprise will have touched Rs 65 crore, according to S.P. Bansal, the DDCA general secretary.
"It took us three years, but we’ve been using the ground for international, domestic matches," he says.
Critics say that that has also swelled the bill significantly. They also say that there have been several delays: Some unavoidable, like plans having to be altered because of government permissions (from the ASI, given that this comes under a heritage area, from the fire authorities etc) and others, avoidable, caused by vicious feuding within the DDCA itself.
Bansal, though, is just pleased that things have worked out and the DDCA managed to raise Rs 40 crore from six major sponsors while Rs 20 crore came as subsidy from the BCCI.
Money has been spent, and a view of the Kotla suggests it's been spent well, and with a view to the future. There are 43 corporate boxes, most of which have already been taken and paid for the next 12 years.
There are plans for the actual game as well in the pipeline are an indoor practice facility and better practice pitches, says Bansal.