The bird’s eye view of the stadium is stunning. As the aircraft descends, the Shahid Veer Narayan Singh Stadium — nestling amidst a lush green environ — stands out.
Typically, this modern sports theatre is located outside the township with not a residential or industrial locality in the vicinity. The locals, however, promise the teams would reach the ground, 25 kilometres away from the hotel, in 15 minutes.
The tickets for the two Pepsi Indian Premier League matches reportedly sold out in minutes. A packed house at one of the best cricket stadia in India will reflect the craze for the game in this part of the country.
Raipur makes its debut with the staging of the IPL match involving Delhi Daredevils and Pune Warriors India.
Taking cricket to small venues is obviously the next step for the organisers to not only keep the interest alive but also give the popularity concept a push in the right direction.
Indore has been the traditional cricket centre of Madhya Pradesh but the formation of Chhattisgarh has raised the possibility of the state capital offering an alternative for the administrators. As an affiliated member of the Board, the Chhattisgarh Cricket Sangh (CCS), along with Ranchi, is the newest cricket centre with modern facilities and capability to handle high-profile matches.
With patronage from the state government, the stadium is a spectacle, with adequate cricket facilities on offer. The warm reception that the teams received on arrival here on Thursday night was on expected lines with Virender Sehwag being the star attraction. He loved it too and loved the idea of cricket being played at such venues.
The stadium offers a view without obstruction from any seat and the pitches, prepared by Shamim Mirza, promise consistent bounce, something the Delhi Daredevils sorely missed at the Feroz Shah Kotla, its home ground.