In a few months from now, sometime between December 2019 and January 2020, Ahmedabad – Gujarat’s financial capital and largest city – will unveil a new state-of-the-art cricket stadium, an ambitious project with a 1.10 lakh capacity that will replace the erstwhile 50,000-capacity Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadiumconstructed in 1982.
The colossal structure, a vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be the world’s biggest cricket facility.
Speaking to TOI, Union home minister Amit Shah — also the president of the GujaratCricket Association (GCA) – said: “This project is the vision of our Prime Minister. It was his dream that Gujarat, and India, should have a worldclass infrastructure in cricket, a game that generates a billion inspirations across the country. We are happy with the way work has progressed and the way the stadium is coming up.”
Work on the project began in 2017 and it took close to nine months to bring down the existing infrastructure. Rajya Sabha MP and GCA vicepresident Parimal Nathwani, who oversaw the construction, said, “At first the idea was to put the stadium up for renovation. A good 30 years had passed and it was time to re-do the existing infrastructure. We made a presentation and took it to our (then) president Modi (who was GCA president until 2013) but he had a different vision. It was his idea that we should bring down the entire structure and start once again from scratch. His only suggestion was that whatever we do, it should be on a big scale and be one of the best in the world.”
Over the course of three decades, Motera has seen some of Indian cricket’s finest moments, like Sunil Gavaskar’s 10,000th run in 1987, Kapil Dev’s 434th wicket to go past Richard Hadlee in 1994, Sachin Tendulkar’s first Test match double in 1999 and India’s 2011 World Cup quarterfinal win over Australia.
For Shah, who took over from Modi as GCA president, the stadium became a dream project. “In some months from now, the work will reach its completion and I am sure it will be a moment of pride for India and Indian cricket. The best expertise was sought on planning this entire project. Cricket in India is more than just a sport. It is an emotion,” Shah added.