By Nadim Memon | Opening Doorz Editorial | November 10, 2016
D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai will be playing host to an international tournament. In India, however, even though Dr. Vijay Patil is OPENING DOORZ to his facility, BCCI and MCA choose to look the other way.
D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, built in the year 2009, is one of the world’s 10 best cricket stadium. And it has taken the western world to acknowledge the grandeur of this ground which boasts of world class facilities to put it on the world map. FIFA has chosen this stadium as one of its venues for their Under-17 Soccer World Cup matches to be held next year in India.
This ground is truly a sight to behold. Not only is the ground as per international standards, but even the facilities are on par with any top-class venues anywhere in the world. And credit for this must go to Dr. Vijay Patil, a keen sports enthusiast, who has travelled the world over. Dr. Patil has painstakingly worked from scratch to put India and Navi Mumbai on the world map and this is no mean feat.
Facilities like the press box, dressing room, VIP Gallery, visitor rooms, state-of-the-art gymnasium, physio room, swimming pool, not to mention catering facilities that matches to international standards and ample car parking, makes this Stadium, ‘Neighbour’s Envy and Owner’s Pride’.
With a seating capacity for 55,000 people, this stadium also boasts of a beautiful cricket ground, with lovely, lively wickets, which has both bounce and turn and ground machine and equipment to maintain the cricket pitch and the outfield.
Surprisingly, this Stadium has not got a single First Class or International Cricket match till date. In the year 2010 and 2011, the IPL final, conducted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was played here. That’s it!
Since then, the BCCI and Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) are trying to outdo each other in not allotting matches to this venue for their own vested interest.
Mumbai cricketers are surprised at being deprived for not getting an opportunity to play at this venue. “The MCA should allow Ranji Trophy matches to be played here,” is the oft-heard remark by most Mumbai cricketers. Besides the Ranji Trophy, the BCCI can also avail of this facility for their Under-14, 16, 19 and Under-23 tournaments.
Dr. Patil, Chairman, has written to the BCCI and the MCA to use his Stadium and its facilities free of cost. His offer has yet to be taken up! Dr. Patil is matter-of-fact when he says, “I will do my best for sports and cricket, rest is in the hands of the BCCI and the MCA to use the world-class facilities.”
In February, when the FIFA delegation visited the stadium, they called it a “High quality” arena.
In October this year, after the stadium was selected as the venue, FIFA tournament director Javier Ceppi told reporters, “It’s much more than just holding a World Cup and 23 days. You need somebody with a vision; you need somebody that has capacity to look at the project as a whole. At that time (when FIFA first visited the stadium whilst scouting for venues in India), he (Patil) assured us that he would do everything in his capacity to make the facility ready and to mobilise the project throughout.”
Such high praise from international quarters for Dr. Patil and his vision, but here, ego and politics play a big role in ensuring cricketers don’t get a feel of this turf. Those in power in the BCCI and the MCA should make use of the facilities, which the world is now clamoring to use.
If not, cricket will be the loser!
(Nadim Memon is a man of the maidans. He is a curator, a sports lover, a cricketer, a footballer and more, importantly a fierce protector of maidans for the younger generation!)