A rebuilt M.A. Chidambaram Stadium is ready to host four matches in the ICC ODI World Cup. What does N. Srinivasan, secretary and president-elect BCCI, have to say about the transformation?
Evening's different hues form a tapestry of light on the dome-shaped roofs that resemble giant umbrellas. The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium is sublime in its new avatar. Cricket's timeless venue is decked up for the big occasion.
Aesthetically pleasing structures have replaced what was once a concrete jungle. Breeze from the Bay of Bengal now flows through the large gaps between the stands. The ambience soothes one's senses.
Predictably, N. Srinivasan, secretary and president-elect BCCI, is a happy man. Known in the cricketing circles as a strong, tough-talking person, who gets things done, he is delighted with what his team has achieved.
Great team effort
Srinivasan, also the TNCA president, said, “I feel very proud that, collectively, we have managed to build such a wonderful stadium in Chennai. The TNCA is very fortunate to have men such as K.S. Viswanathan (secretary) and Murray Raghavan (infrastructure committee chairman) and their team that has done an excellent job to get the work finished on time.''
He added, “In a public body, you can get results if you have no other agenda. I have always followed that principle.”
This, easily, is the finest cricket stadium in the country, even better than the slightly compressed Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur. The quality of construction and the facilities are truly world class.
The stadium, which will cost around Rs.192 crore when work is fully complete, is slated to host the four matches in the forthcoming ICC ODI World Cup, including the key clash between India and the West Indies on March 20.
Mr. Srinivasan said, “We have worked within a limited time-span and space. You will get the full picture once the pavilion is complete. We will take up that work after the IPL.”
Gone are the huge pillars that often blocked the view in the old stadium. The light state-of-the-art roof called Quad Conical Geometric Form is held together by cables imported from China. Bird Air, an American firm, is the designer, while engineers from Australia (from Tyio Membrane) have carried out the installation work.
There is more room and space in the stands; the chairs have been imported from Australia. And the entrances are dotted with sleek turnstiles, bought from Austria.
Importantly, ingredients, including CCTV, the latest fire fighting equipment, and emergency exits, enhance the security apparatus. As Srinivasan pointed out, a pathway circling the stadium makes it more accessible for the spectators.
Another feature of the stadium is that the boundary line can be spotted from anywhere in the stands. The stadium can, now, accommodate 38,000 spectators. This will increase to 42,000 once work at the TNCA pavilion and the MCC stand is over. At present, Chepauk sports as many as nine new stands.
These consist of three tiers with the middle one, fully air-conditioned, being the Hospitality Box. Hopkins, England and Natraj & Venkat, Chennai, are the chief architects.
The media box can seat 200 presspersons; the journalists will be supported by Wi-fi, computers, printers, and scanners. The media conference hall can accommodate around 300 persons.
The stands are at a gradient of 36 degrees. By international standards, this is not too steep. The enclosures at the venue in Cape Town have a gradient of 45 degrees.
Of course, with sea breeze flowing into the ground, the players too will receive some respite from humidity. The dynamics of a contest will also be altered; the pacemen could achieve more swing while the spinners have a better chance of getting the ball to drift.
Maintaining the re-constructed stadium, Srinivasan said, would be a massive exercise in itself. “We require a full-fledged team to ensure that the stands remain in the best possible condition.”
The stands gleam even as light bounces off the roofs. Then, a gust of wind refreshes body and mind. Cricket enters a new era at Chepauk.