Testing time for cyclone-battered Vizag cricket stadium

  • Firoz Mirza, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Oct 16, 2014 11:38 IST

While it will take some time to assess the extent of losses caused by cyclone Hudhud which pounded the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha on Sunday, the natural calamity has jeopardised the immediate chances of the Visakhapatnam Cricket Stadium getting Test status.

The cyclonic storm has battered the Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy ACA-VDA Cricket Stadium with infrastructure in the venue suffering massive damage. “All our 20 corporate boxes were razed to the ground during the cyclone. We are yet to ascertain the damage and have deployed a team of engineers to determine the loss,” MSK Prasad, director (operations) Andhra Cricket Association, told HT on Wednesday.

The cancellation of the third ODI between India and West Indies schedule in Vizag on Tuesday was the immediate effect of the cyclone, but the stadium was in contention to get Test status as a BCCI team had recently made an inspection and suggested minor modifications to ensure the venue fulfilled the criteria.

Work was in progress and was expected to be completed soon so that the proposal to grant Test status could be taken forward at the BCCI annual general meeting scheduled on November 20. But Hudhud has thrown ACA’s plans into disarray.

Prasad was optimistic. “We still have time. We have already initiated the process to assess the loss and soon we will be calling an executive meeting to sanction the funds for redevelopment of the facility.”

Asked whether the damage to the stadium will also affect its chances of staging domestic matches, Prasad responded in the negative. “We have eight venues to host domestic matches and by next year the number will increase to 13. I don’t think it will affect our chances of hosting domestic matches.”

From roads to telecommunication networks to the port and airport, all major infrastructure facilities in Vizag suffered massive damage due to the cyclone. The extent of the destruction caused to the stadium could be gauged from the fact that seats have been uprooted and compound walls have come crashing down. The pitch somehow managed to dodge nature’s fury, though ACA are racing against time to redevelop the venue.

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