THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While the cricket fans in the city are all excited about Thiruvananthapuram hosting the Twenty20 showdown between India and New Zealand later this year, the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) and Thiruvananthapuram District Cricket Association (TDCA) officials have their work cut out to ensure the smooth conduct of the event.
From getting the pitches ready and tested in time for the match day to arranging hotels for the teams and officials, the cricket administrators in the state will work and rework the blueprint to conduct the Twenty20 match over the next few months ahead of the November 7 tie.
“As this will be the first international match hosted in the city in nearly three decades, there will be some hiccups. That was the case when we hosted the first ODI in Kochi in 1998 too. We will have to go into the minute details and make sure that everything is in its right place,” said BCCI vice-president T C Mathew on Wednesday.
One of the major concerns KCA had when they signed a MoU with the Greenfield International Stadium last year was the bumpy outfield at the venue. The other concern is preparing the wickets at the new stadium. Step in KCA curator Biju A M who has been on the job for the last few months.
“We have made the outfield even, but more work has to be done to make it ideal. We also have to restrict the algal growth by increasing the pH levels,” said Biju. “We will also have to get the playing surface exclusively for us at least 90 days before the match,” he added.
KCA has ordered preparing five wickets for the match - three clay wickets and two red soil ones. The red soil wicket which will favour batsmen is expected to be used for the India versus New Zealand game which will be the first T20 international to be played in the state. Six practice wickets will also be prepared.
Cabling for stump vision camera is yet to be done while 11 to 14 camera points will have to be set up inside the stadium for a state-of-the-art broadcast of the match. Refocusing of the floodlights will also be required for sufficient lighting for HD telecast.
The dressing rooms for the teams is also a matter of concern as the lockers in the Greenfield Stadium is at the basement level which will force players and staff to watch the game on television. “We will have to set up temporary dressing rooms on the first floor from where they can watch the match directly,” said Mathew.
KCA has also tied up with three hospitals in the city ensuring the presence of orthopaedic, cardiac and neurology experts during the match along with ICU ambulances. Meanwhile, the Kerala Police will look after the security arrangements. “We have met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Sports Minister A C Moideen who have assured their support for the fixture,” said Mathew.
“Around 50,000 bucket seats will be available for the match while the capacity could be increased by another 10,000 if Karyavattom Sports Facilities Limited, the operators of the stadium, complete the work of the corporate boxes in the stadium,” said the former KCA president.
Mathew also said the venue is set to get international recognition from the International Cricket Council (ICC) with a team from the world governing body expected to inspect the stadium in the coming months. “The BCCI had recommended KCA to make a few changes to the venue which is being done now following which the inspection will happen,” he said.
Before the big T20 game, the stadium will host at least one Ranji Trophy match of Kerala in October. “We will have three home matches this season which we will have to win outright to have the chance to progress. So, playing on a wicket favouring batting won’t be a good idea. But we are hoping at least one Ranji match will be played here,” Mathew added.