With three world championships lined up, will India change the status quo of its cricket venues?
In a triple bonanza for India, it will host the Twenty 20 Cricket World Cup competition in 2016, Cricket World Test Championship 2021 and the 50-over Cricket World Cup in 2023, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced at its annual conference in London on June 28, 2014.
The World Test Championship will replace the Champions Trophy, recently won by India after it beat England by five runs in the final at Birmingham’s Edgbaston ground. According to an ICC media release, the first edition of the World Test Championship will be staged in 2017 by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in June-July 2017 while the second edition will be held in India in February-March 2021.
While the premium competition in Test cricket and T20 format will be hosted by India for the first time, the country will be hosting the 50-over Cricket World Cup for the fourth time. The event will also mark the first time that India will host the tournament on their own, after having co-hosted previous World Cup tournaments in 1987 (with Pakistan), 1996 (with Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and 2011 (with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh).
Surprisingly, unlike other such big sporting events when the host nations announce the construction of new stadiums and renovation work for the existing ones, India hasn’t made grand announcements for such projects for the three mega cricket events lined up in quick succession.
The reason could be found in India’s rise as a cricketing superpower over the last couple of decades and the introduction the Indian Premier League (IPL), the most successful such tournament of T20 Cricket. While the first has seen the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) becoming the world’s richest cricket authority, willing to spend generously on the sports and infrastructure; the annual IPL tournament has resulted in constant upkeep and upgrading of the existing venues.
India, as it is, is home to one of the largest number of international cricket stadiums, with over 50 such venues spread across the length and breadth of the country. However, the imminent question is whether the superpower of international cricket will be content with the existing status-quo vis-à-vis its stadium or look to introduce new venues to its list?
With stadium design taking massive strides in incorporating the latest state-of-the-art technology while not losing track of green development, it will be interesting to speculate what kind of future is envisioned for the cricket stadiums in India.