As India skipper Virat Kohli interacted with the media in a large hall on the first floor, an argument broke out on the ground floor, and could be heard inside. Incidents such as this and ones like commentators climbing three floors as there is no elevator at Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium are common.
The historic Green Park has an old-world charm and can spark off romanticism. But it has remained one of the most primitive Test centres. With the BCCI giving accreditation to six new venues, pushing the number of Test venues to 16, there are chances Green Park could lose prominence, even though it will host an England-India T20I in January.
The six new centres have been built with state-of-the-art technology and will debut this season. The India-New Zealand tie was the first Test in Kanpur in six years. The last time a game was played, in 2009, featuring Sri Lanka, the situation was quite the same.
Virat Kohli had pointed out on the eve of the Test that this was one of the few venues where not much had changed.
“Whenever we play here, we get the feeling of old times, the way net practice used to happen and matches were played. Not much has changed here,” he said.
It may have history, but for Australia the venue has become a no-go zone, as they’ve refused to play in Kanpur. The last time the Aussies played a Test at Green Park was in 1979 while England played their last Test in 1985. In fact, Australia have not played an ODI in Kanpur after 1998.
Being the only centre in Uttar Pradesh has made it possible for matches to happen. But with new venues coming up, the one in Lucknow is being built on public-private partnership and a private one in Greater Noida where Duleep Trophy was held, there will be competition for IPL and domestic games.
Green Park’s problem lies in the fact that it is a government property and unless interest is shown, it will remain this way.
For now, the England-India T20I will be a test of how fast it can change.