2023 ODI World Cup Venues: Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Hyderabad – Capacity, Pitch Info & Areas Requiring Attention

The Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) will finally get the opportunity to host a World Cup match after a gap of 27 years. The last time a World Cup match was held in the city was when West Indies played against Zimbabwe at the Lal Bahadur Stadium. The construction of the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium at Uppal has transformed the landscape of cricketing activity in Hyderabad, providing world-class facilities for players, officials, and spectators.

Over the years, the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium has become one of the best cricket grounds in the country, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the groundstaff. Mentored by ‘Pipe’ Gopal and later led by BCCI curator Y.L. Chandrasekhar, the groundstaff has even won ‘The Best Curator’ award twice in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Since its establishment in 2006, the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium has hosted five Tests, seven ODIs, three T20Is, and the finals of the IPL in 2017 and 2019.

Ahead of the World Cup matches, K. Durga Prasad, the retired IPS officer assisting the Supreme Court-appointed Single Judge Justice (Retd) Avula Nageswara Rao in running the HCA administration, is ensuring that the venue is player-friendly and spectator-friendly. The HCA has sought the assistance of the BCCI to renovate the 40,000-capacity stadium. The renovation plans include the installation of canopies, elevators, giant scoreboards, new chairs, and new floodlights. The BCCI has agreed in principle to undertake the renovations and cover the costs using funds due to the HCA.

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The HCA is also prioritizing the maintenance of sewerage lines and addressing any repair works necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of the stadium. Basic amenities for paying fans, such as washrooms and drinking water facilities, are being given special attention. Safety and comfort are top priorities, with efforts to replace most of the chairs in the stands, change the floodlights to LED lights, install new screens, and set up a new chiller plant.

The Rajiv Gandhi Stadium offers a refreshing experience for players, officials, and spectators alike. With a projected capacity of 55,000, the stadium can currently accommodate 40,000 fans on match days, as per Justice Lodha guidelines. Hospitality boxes, which number around 60, offer a comfortable seating capacity of about 25 each. The stadium proudly displays picture frames of cricketing legends and iconic moments, adding to the nostalgia and rich history of the sport.

When it comes to practice facilities, the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium boasts truly international standards. It houses 17 nets, including two astro-turf wickets. Efforts are being made to ensure that all training sessions are conducted in well-lit nets near the main entrance of the stadium complex. Additionally, the Gymkhana Ground at Secunderabad is being spruced up as a practice facility for teams during the World Cup.

The stadium will have six pitches, which have traditionally been batter-friendly. The curator, Chandrasekhar, and his groundstaff are known for their impeccable work, and the venue’s outstanding drainage system ensures minimal delays in play even after heavy rains. The outfield is marked by a sub-soil pipeline system connected to the moat surrounding the playing area, allowing for efficient water drainage.

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Regarding entry points, the stadium has 11 outer gates and 15 inner gates (A, B, C, D, and E) with turnstiles to screen valid ticket-holders. Gate No. 1 is reserved for players, officials, and VVIPs. The Southern Grandstand houses dressing rooms with modern facilities, media boxes, and the Northern Stand has the TV commentator’s box and corporate boxes. The dressing rooms are fully equipped, complete with big televisions, ice bath facilities, and a brand new ice cube making machine.

Transportation to the venue is convenient, with the Hyderabad Metro Station located within walking distance. Special trains are operated during match days. There are two parking areas near the main entrance, with one catering to officials and VIPs. The other parking area operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Parking slots for two-wheelers are available on the approach road, as well as at various designated locations.

Safety measures are in place, with round-the-clock ambulances and medical services available at the stadium, along with plans to set up medical facilities at each entry point. Washrooms are available in all stands, and free drinking water in sachets is provided to address any concerns about water quality.

The restoration of the canopy cover on all stands is nearing completion, with the Southern Grandstand already restored. Efforts are also underway to improve the view from the east and west wings of the stadium by installing new seating arrangements.

The Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad is fully prepared to host the upcoming World Cup matches. With its exceptional facilities, including international-standard practice nets, player-friendly dressing rooms, top-notch hospitality boxes, and efficient drainage system, the stadium promises an exciting and comfortable experience for players, officials, and spectators alike.

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