After Australia and New Zealand, the world’s third “drop-in” cricket pitch will come up at the Kariyavattom Greenfield Stadium here, it was announced on Monday.
The announcement came after the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) inked an agreement with Kariyavattom Sports Facilities Ltd (KSFL), which manages the stadium, assuring use of the facility for 180 days in a year, according to Anil Kumar Pandala, Director, KSFL.
A drop-in cricket pitch is one that is prepared elsewhere and “dropped into” its predetermined place before a match. This allows the stadium to host other sports and events.
“It’s going to cost us around Rs 8 crore-Rs 10 crore and… we expect it to be ready next year. When complete, this would be the third venue that has this facility after the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Eden Park in New Zealand. This ground and stadium can be kept going only if we have this facility too,” Pandala said.
Located near the Technopark campus in the city, this modern sports complex, built at a cost of Rs 375 crore, has a seating capacity of 50,000. It has been cleared as a venue by both the International Cricket Council (ICC) and World football governing body, FIFA.
Earlier this year, it bagged the David Vickers Award in the “New Venue of the Year” category, beating several stadia around the world.
“Through the new agreement inked by the KCA with the stadium, from now on for the next 11 years, we will use the stadium for 180 days in a year. The last time an international cricket match was hosted in the city was in 1989 and through this, we are hopeful of staging an international match this year and also this would be a venue for the next IPL,” KCA President T.C. Mathew said.
The KCA will now see that a cricket pitch is laid at the earliest and it’s our responsibility to get all the clearance from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the infrastructure committee certification.
“The rules for drop-in pitches is strict and unless we go in for this, this stadium will not bring the returns; a drop-in pitch can be set up in a week’s time while the conventional pitches require a minimum of two months,” Pandala said.
The sports complex is equipped with multi-use facilities such as an indoor sports arena, club house, guest rooms, convention centre, retail complex and many other facilities.