Cricket ground gets facelift

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A galaxy of former, present and future stars of Tamil Nadu cricket were in attendance to the inauguration of the state of the art India Cements Pavilion, Lt.

Col. GS Gill Hall and a gymnasium at the Guru Nanak College here on Sunday. N. Srinivasan, BCCI president and vice-chairman and managing director of India Cements formally inaugurated the new facility.

Speaking on the occasion, Srinivasan said: “Though India Cements and Guru Nanak College are in varied fields the bond between the two has only continued to grow over the last 15 years.

I take this opportunity to thank architect Venkat for coming up with such a good design for the pavilion and dressing rooms which I am sure will be of immense benefit to the players.”

A 15-year lease that commenced in 1996 between the educational institution and India Cements ended last year and the proposal to redo the entire outfield, practice facilities and pavilion was undertaken and completed in a year. The college ground is an integral party of the city’s cricket scape and the new value additions will further enhance the reputation.

Sardar Manjit Singh Gill, president, Guru Nanak Educational Society traced the wonderful association and the role played by India Cements in developing cricket among their students and also providing the college a venue to be proud of.

The outfield is now equipped with a modern sprinkler system to help upkeep of the newly laid grass and a underground piping system that allows easier drainage of water.

Former Indian batsman Hemang Badani who turns out for Grand Slam, a club promoted by India Cements was thrilled with the new look of the venue. “I remember playing for Vijay CC during my college days right after my debut as a India under-19 cricketer.

Though I did not get many runs that season, I did manage 30 wickets to help the team win the title. Many good memories in the old dressing room and I am sure players will find the improved facility even better.”

Tamil Nadu’s newly appointed Ranji Trophy coach, VB Chandrasekhar, fast bowling coach, TA Sekar and former Indian opener WV Raman were among those who attended the simple yet elegant ceremony. They were all unified in their praise of the new structure.

The present day stars were awe struck as well. “The dressing room should compare with any other in India. For a club side to be provided with such facilities is unheard of and it once again reinforces the fact that India Cements always puts players interest first,” said Indian batsman S. Badrinath.

Apart from the local league, the ground has witnessed some reverting Ranji Trophy action too. It was here in 2002-03 where Tamil Nadu first beat Mumbai outright in Chennai. The Tied Test was replayed here in 2001 when most members of the Indian and Australian side (1986) participated to commemorate the historic Test.

There is still some work left to be done on the outfield before the venue can return to hosting matches. The venue will continue to be the home ground of Vijay CC, the reigning champions in the TNCA first division league.

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