25 Feb 2021 19:06 IST

Inside the world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad

'Ahmedabad will now be known as the Sports City of India,' said Shah while delivering address

President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday inaugurated the world's largest cricket arena here, the refurbished Sardar Patel Stadium, which will now be known as Narendra Modi stadium. The state-of-the-art facility can accommodate an awe-inspiring 1.32 lakh spectators.

The President inaugurated the stadium in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju. “We have decided to name it after the country's Prime Minister. It was Modi ji's dream project,” said Shah after the inauguration. The cricket stadium opens with the third Test between India and England, a day-night game from Wednesday, and will also host the fourth and final game of the series from March 4.

“Ahmedabad will now be known as the Sports City of India,” said Shah while delivering address at the inaugural function.

Spread over 63 acres, the stadium has been built at an estimated cost of ₹800 crore and with a seating capacity for 1,32,000 spectators, it has surpassed the hallowed Melbourne Cricket Ground which can accommodate 90,000.“The total area is equivalent to 32 Olympic size soccer fields put together,” stated a release from the Press Information Bureau.

“As children, we used to dream about the world's largest stadium in India. And now as sports minister, my happiness knows no bounds that this has finally happened. It is one of the most modern sports facilities in the world," said Rijiju at the inauguration.

Players from India and England , who have been training here for the past few days, have expressed their admiration for what they have experienced at the arena. The ground claims to have a drainage system which will take just 30 minutes from the time it stops raining to drain out the water. Instead of high mast floodlights, the field of play has LED lights fixed along the perimeter of the roof providing shadow-less light — a first of its kind arrangement in India. This is the only cricket stadium in the world to have four dressing rooms for the players so that back-to-back games can be played on the same day.