Oct 16, 2007

Wankhede Stadium

Wankhede Cricket Stadium Mumbai

The Wankhede Stadium will be undergoing renovations and won't be open till 2010 after the one day between India and Australia on Oct 17th, 2007.

The Wankhede Stadium is the second largest cricket stadium in the Indian city of Mumbai. This ground was built after disputes between the Cricket Club of India which own the Brabourne Stadium, and the Mumbai Cricket Association over the allocation of tickets for cricket matches. This became severe after the Test between India and England in 1973. At the initiative of S. K. Wankhede, a politician and the secretary of the Mumbai Cricket Association, MCA built the new stadium in South Mumbai near the Churchgate station. It was built in six months and opened in time for the final Test between India and the West Indies in 1975. Since then the Wankhade stadium has taken over from Brabourne Stadium as the main cricketing venue in the city. The stadium has a capacity of 45,000 and is always in contention to host an international match in India.

The stadium has been witness to great innings like Gavaskar's 205 against the Windies and Kallicharan's 187 in the same game in the 1978-79 series and all round heroics like Ian Botham's century and thirteen wickets in the Jubilee Test in 1980. which England won by ten wickets. The highest score by an Indian at Wankhede remains Vinod Kambli's 224 against England in 1992-93 in only his third Test. Incidentally Ravi Shastri's six sixes in an over off Baroda's Tilak Raj en route to the fastest double-hundred in first-class cricket was on this ground in 1984-85.

The cricket pitch is known to offer assistance to bowlers and is largely a spinner and pace friendly track. It offers spin and bounce to spin bowlers and swing to fast bowlers during the early part of each day due to the ground being close to sea.On days four and five of a test the pitch does tend to break up a fair bit which in turn offers great assistance to spinners. In 1995 the stadium was upgraded and lights were added to host day and night games. Later, in 1996 it hosted an India-Australia match in the 1996 Cricket World Cup.

The most recent Test match played was India versus England between March 18 and 22, 2006 in which England won by 212 runs to tie the series 1-1; an interesting fact with this is that only five sides have ever batted last at Wankhede in an international match and won; South Africa was the last side to achieve this feat, and was chasing 163 to win, unlike the last Test where India was set a ground-record of 313 on the final day to win.

International superstar Shakira held a concert on March 25, 2007 as part of her Oral Fixation Tour.

The main gates to the ground are named after Polly Umrigar and Vinoo Mankad. The stands are named after famous Mumbai cricketers like Vijay Merchant (West stand), Sunil Gavaskar (East stand upper) and Sachin Tendulkar (North stand).