THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The final countdown begins for the ultimate showdown. With the city set to host the ‘second innings’ of an international cricket match after three decades, the venue, ‘Sports Hub Trivandrum’, is abuzz with activities.
When ‘T’Puram Express’ took a brief tour of the sports hub, the preparations for the T20 match between India and New Zealand, on November 7, were in the final phase. From pitch rolling to cleaning the stadium premises, the various work is going at a fast pace.
Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) guarantees a day of entertainment for the city folks. T20 has more entertainment value than being just a game. A sound system of 1.5 lakh watts will be installed inside the stadium to give the boom quotient to the music that Kerala’s own DJ Savyo will play to get the crowd in the mood.
The KCA is expecting a full house on the match day. KCA secretary Jayesh George said 85 percent of the tickets have been sold out and the remaining too will likely be snapped up in the coming days.
Mohanlal to launch ticket sale
“Ticket sales got an amazing response. Majority of the tickets got sold out hours after the announcement. Once the official launch of the ticket is held at Vivanta by Taj hotel on Thursday by actor Mohanlal, the remaining ones too will be sold out. T20 is more than a cricket and we will guarantee a package of entertainment for the spectators. We hope that the match day will be a memorable day for Thiruvananthapuram,” said Jayesh.
BCCI officials will also pay a visit to the stadium on Friday to inspect the pitch conditions and final arrangements. A demo T20 match will be held on the same day between local teams under the floodlights. BCCI officials will also inspect the demo match to ascertain whether the pitch is conducive enough for the match.
Kudumbasree and branded private caterers have been contracted to cater the food needs of the spectators. The restaurant in the stadium too will be providing refreshments. A team of experts from Kochi is at the stadium to preview crowd management.
Karthik Varma, who has immense experience in overseeing crowd management for the past two decades, said three types of barricading will be arranged here unlike in Kaloor stadium.
“At Kochi, there are separate gates through which the spectators enter the stadium. But here we have to create separate entrance based on the ticket ranges by erecting barricades. There will be separate queues for ladies. Besides, the distance between the spectators and players in the ground is less compared to Kochi stadium. So temporary fences have been erected to prevent viewers from entering the ground. However, since such instances have not occurred in the state before, we hope it won’t happen this time around too,” Karthik said.
He said more CCTV cameras will be installed beside the ones already present inside the stadium with the help of police. On Monday, an organising committee office was inaugurated in the stadium to review the work ahead of the match. A special team will be present until the end of the match.
While the visitors will have a practice session from 9 am to noon on November 6, the Indian team will have their training session from 2 pm to 5 pm. The stay for the players and visitors has been arranged in Leela Raviz Kovalam.
For the cricket lovers of 80’s, this match will be a flashback to the first two international cricket matches that were held in 1984 and 1988 in the state. While the first ODI in Kerala was a washed out affair between Sunil Gavaskar’s India and Kim Hughes’ Australia, the second ODI saw a strong West Indies side, featuring the likes of Vivian Richards and Richie Richardson, trouncing the home side led by current India coach Ravi Shastri by nine wickets. Cricketing fraternity in the city is all excited to see the match yet again here in a brand new world-class stadium.
KCA signed an 11-year MoU with the Kariyavattom Sports Facilities Limited (KSFL), the operators of the Sportshub, last year. Since Kochi stadium was unavailable due to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup and ISL, the capital city got to host the match this season. KCA has ordered five wickets for the match - three clay and two red soil. The red soil wicket, which will favour batsmen, is expected to be used for the match. Six practice wickets will also be prepared.
Foolproof security arrangements will be made at the stadium on the match day with effective barricading for crowd management. The arrangements will be led by Thiruvananthapuram range IG Manoj Abraham.
Around 2,500 police personnel will be on duty on the day while four assistant commissioners, 24 deputy superintendent of police, 50 circle inspectors and about 300 sub-inspectors will supervise the security arrangements during the match. More personnel will be deployed for traffic management and there will be diversions in the city limits. The assistance of dog and bomb squads will also be used. A detailed presser by the police will come a day prior to the match.
The sales would be through the Federal Bank portal “www.federalbank.co.in.” Online tickets have to be exchanged with the original ones at Federal Bank’s Cotton Hill branch in Vazhuthacaud from November 1 to 5 and from the special ticket counters set up near Gate-1 (opposite Kariyavattom University campus) on November 5, 6 and 7.
The sale of physical tickets will commence from October 30 through the designated branches of Federal Bank. Students can purchase the tickets at Rs 350 for upper level and have to submit an authorisation from their school or college authorities. About 5,000 tickets will be set aside for students.
The ticket rates are:
Rs 700 for Upper level,
Rs 1,000 for lower level,
Rs 2,000 for Premium chair