Trump inaugurates world’s largest cricket facility in India


India Motera Stadium Image: India TV

Motera Stadium in India – the world’s largest cricket stadium – was dedicated to the nation jointly by the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, and the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on February 24, 2020. The price tag of the state-of-the-art arena is Rs 700 crore.

The stadium sits at Motera at Ahmedabad in the Indian State of Gujarat. The stadium inaugural event – named ‘Namaste Trump’ – saw a sea of humanity (125,000-strong crowd) turn up.

The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, commonly known as the Motera Stadium, is presently the largest cricket facility in the globe with the capacity to accommodate 110,000 spectators. Owned by the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA), it will be a regular venue for Test, ODI, and T20I cricket matches.

Boasting seating capacity of 110,000, the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium is the second largest stadium overall – for it is only behind the Rungrado May Day Stadium in North Korea. The Rungrado May Day Stadium can accommodate 114,000 people on the seats.

Motera Stadium has dislodged Australia’s iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) from enjoying the biggest cricket stadium tag. The MCG can house approximately 95,000 supporters.

The stadium has been rebuilt after tearing down the old one which had a seating capacity of 49,000 spectators. The Australian design practices ‘Populous’ is the architect of the brand new venue.

Inaugurating the stadium, President Trump stated, “Five months ago, the United States welcomed your great Prime Minister at a giant football stadium in Texas, and today, India welcomes us at the world’s largest cricket stadium right here in Ahmedabad. It is a profound honor to be in the beautiful new stadium, to be here with you – Motera Stadium. So beautiful. And joined by so many distinguished guests from all across your nation and all across the world.”

Lead Architect and Senior Principal, Andrew James, spoke about the vision for the design during the inauguration, with the scale of the project creating the greatest challenge, “Cricket is the biggest sport in India and this stadium has been designed to bring together as many fans as possible, creating an incredible atmosphere for international cricket, IPL matches through to regional and community games.”

“Each one of the 110,000 seats has uninterrupted sightlines of the field and pitch and with a deliberate round, open stadium providing 360-degree views, you feel you’re a part of what’s happening. Drawing on our expertise with cricket and major sports venues around the world, the bowl design consists of two large seating tiers, each with approximately 50,000 general admission seats, designed to fill the lower levels for smaller events and still bring that sense of occasion, the sight and the sound to make every experience a special one,” he added.

Andrew also observed, “The stadium will become an iconic sports venue for both aspiring and elite players. It will become one of the world’s great cricket stadiums, putting the Gujarat Cricket Association on the global sporting map.”

The Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly tweeted about the venue, “Lovely to see such a massive, pretty stadium … Ahmedabad .. have great memories in this ground as a player ,captain .. grew up at Eden with hundred thousand capacity.. (not anymore…”

The BCCI is India’s richest sporting body and the richest cricket board in the world. BCCI does not depend on the Government of India for its finances.

Spread across 63 acres of land, the Motera Stadium has three entry points. It also boasts 76 corporate boxes with a seating capacity of 25 each, a clubhouse with 55 rooms, a gymnasium, four dressing rooms and an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Populous’ masterplan includes a community indoor cricket academy housed under the stadium, with a dormitory for up to 40 athletes, six indoor practice pitches and three outdoor practice fields.

The stadium design features four-team dressing rooms and facilities, state-of-the-art club facilities and a VIP pavilion, three practice grounds, an indoor cricket academy, an Olympic-size swimming pool, 76 corporate boxes and a media lounge with press rooms.

The parking spot has space for 3,000 cars and 10,000 bikes which makes it the biggest parking area within the stadium premises.

Apart from the cricket ground, the stadium will facilitate other sports like football, hockey, basketball, kabaddi, boxing, lawn tennis, running track, etc. It is the same venue where legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar completed 10,000 Test runs and Kapil Dev surpassed Richard Hadlee’s record for most Test wickets. Richard Hadlee is a former cricketer from New Zealand and is regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers and all-rounders in cricketing history.

The world’s largest cricket stadium is the dream project of Narendra Modi, who has previously served as the Chief Minister of Gujarat and the President of GCA.

The old Motera Stadium was built in 1982 when the State Government of Gujarat had sanctioned 50 acres of land for its construction. It was demolished in 2016 to make way for the present facility.

The principal contractor for designing and rebuilding the present Motera Stadium is the Indian multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Mumbai, Larsen and Toubro.

The arena is not equipped with floodlights. Instead, LED lights have been installed on the roof. The roofing at Motera Stadium has been designed by US-based consulting and engineering firm Walter P Moore. PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene, a Teflon-coated woven fiber glass, was stretched across a circumferential inner tension ring and an outer compression ring. These rings float between the bowl and the roof via radial cable spokes to allow for movement in case of seismic activity.

Keeping the environmental factor in mind, a solar power plant is also being constructed in the stadium premises to utilize sustainable power. Lubi Solar, a division of Lubi Electronics, is handling the solar power plant.

The GCA management has also kept the traffic issues in mind while designing the layout of the new cricket ground. According to the new layout, the traffic will be segregated in three directions. Apart from using Motera-Sabarmati Road, the management plans to integrate Metro Rail and Sabarmati Riverfront Road.

The first match to be played in the new stadium is anticipated to be an exhibition match between Asia XI and World XI in March.

Motera Stadium holds a special place in the hearts of Indian cricket fans as it has given them many occasions to celebrate. India knocked the then three-time World champions Australia in the quarter finals of the 2011 World Cup here. Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar also passed the illustrious 18,000 ODI runs mark in the same quarter-final match against Australia. Sachin has had another glorious moment in the Motera Stadium as he had scored his first test double century, back in 1999 against New Zealand.

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