The Motera Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad has been renamed the Narendra Modi Stadium ahead of the 3rd Test between India and England on Wednesday. Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India, inaugurated the new stadium, which is set to be the largest cricket stadium in the world with a capacity of 1,10,000.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah was also there for the occasion. The president is on a two-day visit to Gujarat, where he attended the third convocation of the Central University of Gujarat (CUG) at Gandhinagar as the chief guest on Tuesday. Facing the challenge of avoiding a defeat to keep their hopes of reaching the World Test Championship (WTC) final alive, India will step onto a Motera ground that has been reconstructed from scratch and hence is largely unknown to them.
The stadium was constructed in 1982 and initially had a seating capacity of 49,000. Spread across 63 acres, the stadium further has an indoor cricket academy including a dormitory for 40 athletes. It also boasts of dressing rooms big enough to accommodate four teams which also have a state-of-the-art gymnasium and six indoors practice pitches with three outdoor practice fields, among other amenities.
With its massive seating capacity, the Narendra Modi Stadium is now the world’s largest cricket stadium and second-largest sports ground in the world. With its extensive reconstruction and renovation, the venue currently seats more than Melbourne Cricket Ground, in Australia and the iconic Eden Gardens, which has the third-highest spectator capacity of 66,349.
The stadium witnessed its first international Test match during the 1983-84 India vs West Indies series, while the last one was against the current opponent in 2012. The first One-Day International (ODI) was played during the 1984-85 India vs Australia series. While the last ODI was in 2014 against Sri Lanka, before it was completely brought down in 2015. In total, the Motera stadium has hosted a total of 35 international games of cricket – 12 Tests, 23 ODIS and T20I’s.
India and England have clashed in two Test matches so far at the ground. The first Test in 2001 between the two ended in a draw, while the hosts emerged victorious in the second game which took place a decade later in 2012. However, the upcoming third Test between both sides will be its day-night affair and the second one to be held in the country after the pink-ball Test against Bangladesh in 2019 at the Eden Gardens.