THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Thiruvananthapuram is hosting its first ever international cricket match in 29 years thanks in no small part to the state-of-the-art sports infrastructure that has come up in the city in the recent years.The Sports Hub Trivandrum is by a long margin the best stadium on offer in the state at the moment and indications are that the India vs New Zealand T20 International match to be held on Tuesday is just the beginning of a long array of events on offer at the venue.
The stadium can be in line to host a One Day International in March 2018 while a few Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) matches are also scheduled to be held at the venue making it truly the ‘sports hub’ of Kerala. Ajay Pandey, CEO of IL&FS Urban Infrastructure, the subsidiary of IL&FS Group that developed and operates The Sports Hub, promises more events at the venue in the coming days.
“We are definitely expecting the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) to host more domestic and international matches at the Sports Hub in the months to come. We expect the BCCI to provide more opportunities for the stadium to host T20, ODI and Test matches. Also, you can expect domestic cricket matches organised by the KCA and BCCI including Ranji Trophy and a few non-sports events as well at the Sports Hub,” said the Gujarat-based Pandey.
The stadium, which opened ahead of the 35th National Games that Kerala hosted in early 2015, has seen very little sporting action so far -- a delay which the stadium authorities attribute to the preparations needed to host international cricket.
“After the SAFF Football Championship in January 2016, we entered into an agreement granting KCA the use of the stadium for 180 days during the year and maintaining the field of play throughout the year. To prepare for international cricket, we had to be completely ready with the pitch as well as comply with various technical criteria -- the result of which is this T20 ODI that we are fully prepared to host with KCA,” Pandey said.
Pandey also said the Sports Hub has conceptualised various activities to provide a great matchday experience for the spectators of Tuesday’s match. “Our venue is designed to be in compliance with ICC standards and also provides additional facilities other than the mandatory parameters. As the ticket sales have received tremendous response, we are expecting a packed stadium. We have pre match engagement activities for ticket holders and social media activities are already live on the Facebook page and our website to give fans a wonderful experience even before the ball is bowled,” added Pandey, who is also the managing director and Group CEO of Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Co Ltd (GIFTCL).