Vidharbha Cricket Ground
The tenth Test venue in the country this is probably the only international venue where you can walk straight into the ground from the road.india Updated: Oct 24, 2005 19:55 IST
Nagpur, the winter capital of the state of Maharashtra, is a city famous for its oranges, and resident to the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The tenth Test venue in the country, the Vidharbha Cricket Association-managed ground, probably the only international venue where you can walk straight into the ground from the road, has always made headlines for various reasons. Sunil Gavaskar got his only one-day, and World Cup, century here when India won by a huge margin against New Zealand in their final league encounter of the 1987 Reliance World Cup. This is the second best ground for Sachin Tendulkar when it comes to centuries - he has three here after four in Chepauk. It was a dark hour when in 1995, during the fifth game of the India-New Zealand ODI series, the brickwall at the East stand collapsed and nine people died.
As for the pitch, previously, it was just like any other docile pitch, till the BCCI-appointed pitch committee recommended the re-laying of the wicket in 1999. It took a while for the wicket to assume the true shape that it was designed to. Also the unique thing about this wicket is the 30-inch deep double-brick layer - normally there is a 15-inch brick layer - that facilitates in the extra pace and bounce. Surely, that was the a case when Australia conquered the `final frontier' as they beat India handsomely in the third Test to win the Border Gavaskar Trophy. The local critics were up-in-arms at how the curator ignored the home team's cause and prepared a fast wicket that helped the opposition fast bowlers. But the curator insisted that he had simply followed the instructions of the pitch panel. Today Nagpur is one of the only grounds to assist genuine fast bowlers in pace and movement and several first-class games in the 2004-05 season ended within three days as the medium-pacers reaped rich rewards.
First Published: Oct 23, 2005 19:07 IST