THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Cricket enthusiasts can now have a ball. The city’s first artificial cricket ground has come up at Vattiyoorkavu. Frequented by professionals and youngsters, it is a place bustling with activity. Spanning an area of 1,600 sq m, it can accommodate up to 16 players. One hour is the minimum time allowed for the teams.
The turf is owned by five members of Sports Garage, a cricket team based in the city. According to Sujith S, a founding member, the cost of setting up the turf, imported from Vietnam, as well as procuring the sheets, nets and artificial turf amounted to C32,000. The turf is also more suitable for playing box or indoor cricket, unlike the other grounds which have been built for football.
The owners of Sports Garage had initially used the area as a playing surface for their 24-member cricket team. They were partly inspired by the artificial turfs they saw in and outside India. “We had seen an indoor turf in Malaysia,’’ said Shibu V Nair, another founding member. A passion for the game is what motivated the owners to establish artificial turf. “We also play cricket on the turf three days a week,” he said.
The entrepreneurs are surprised by the positive response from the public. “When we put up a post on social media about the facility, the response was unprecedented. The people have accepted the place and said they liked the experience of playing here,” said Shibu.
The ground which is open from 5am is fully booked on Sundays till 10pm. Similarly, during working days, the place is usually booked between 5am and 11am and between 4pm and 10pm. “The daily collections come to around C4,000 to C5,000,” said staffer Krishnaprasad R.
The floodlights have been a major attraction. “Because of the joy of playing under the lights, many people, especially techies, have approached us to use the ground after 10pm,” said Shibu. “They told us they enjoyed the experience of playing on an artificial turf dedicated to cricket,” he added.
In Thiruvananthapuram, cricket grounds are rare and it is a good experience playing here, said Renjith Raj, a visitor. Shakti G said, “We are playing on a cricket turf for the first time and hope to play more matches here.”
Those who wish to play can book it online using the mobile app, ‘Playspots’. The amount for a single session is C600.