International cricket may soon cut its long-term ties with the Ferozeshah Kotla and find a new home on the outskirts of the city. The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) is planning to build a brand new stadium between Dwarka and Najafgarh, close to former India opener Virender Sehwag’s home and adjacent to the airport. The project is expected to be finished by 2020.
According to Ravinder Manchanda, the DDCA treasurer, association officials are already in talks with the ministry of urban development – headed by Venkaiah Naidu – over the process of identifying and acquiring the 10 acres or so of land required.
“DDCA will have a new stadium near Dwarka. Talks are on and we are going to start the project after identifying the land,” Manchanda told TOI on Tuesday (May 17). DDCA has a budget of Rs 150 crore for the stadium, expected to accommodate 50,000 people. Asked how DDCA would organise the money, Manchanda said the association was due to get its share of subsidies from the Indian cricket board (BCCI) for the past three years, amounting to nearly Rs 60 crore.
The Kotla had faced questions about its readiness to host World T20 matches, but it was eventually cleared and the matches went ahead without any hitch.
The board also has a system of allotting extra grants to state units for stadium construction, which could amount to a further Rs 60 crore. However, BCCI sources said DDCA has used up a major chunk of its share -amounting to more than Rs 40 crore -for infrastructure development. Therefore, there are also plans to sell the corporates boxes at the Kotla for the next few years to generate funds for the construction of the new stadium. “Money won’t be much of an issue because we will make a proper team to assess every aspect,” Manchanda added.
Board sources said DDCA would have to cough up at least Rs 250 crore to build the new stadium. DDCA, it is learnt, will work towards ensuring the new stadium has better facilities, better connectivity with the airport and does not cause traffic snarls when high profile international matches are on. There are also around 5,500 hotel rooms available near the airport, a huge convenience for outstation fans.
DDCA’s cricket operations head Siddharth Verma said: “We are working hard to make DDCA the model cricket association in the country , with the best facilities for players. We have more supporters than detractors. We shall not disappoint them.”
The Kotla currently has a capacity of 38,167. A number of those seats don’t provide full view of the field.Existing facilities at the Kotla will also be refurbished, with DDCA planning to reconstruct the Ambedkar end of the stadium. “There are plans to build a new clubhouse and the stadium at Kotla will be used for academies, First-Class matches and training players and coaches,” Manchanda said, adding that DDCA’s main office would shift to the new hub.