Will visit Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur next time
Words: Ambica Gulati
I am perhaps one of the few Indians, maybe a handful, who doesn’t know the ABC of cricket. The only way I like cricket is when I see cricketers having a gala time on Comedy Nights with Kapil. I love the boys’ tales, their night outs, and the way they behave so well like boys! I don’t know who is a good cricketer nowadays, everyone talks about Mahendra Dhoni’s hair turning white due to stress, Virat Kohli wanting to get married to Anushka Sharma and Yuvraj Singh coming out of a cancer treatment successfully—this is my cricket knowledge.
But once upon a time, I had a super crush on the super handsome Imran Khan. It was my dream to meet this man, I remember swooning over him whenever his face popped out of the television screen. And those were the days of Doordarshan—all black and white. But this man was like a Greek God and even now he is still one of the most handsome men. So as World Cup fever rules the country, I thought I would figure out something about cricket.
And browsing through, I realized that I have been to the pink city of Jaipur many times, but never seen the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. Delving into the history of the royal stadium, I discovered that it’s just a year older than me! Established in 1969, it can seat up to 30,000 people which is pretty good. What’s going to interest Gen X though is that it’s also known as SMS Stadium. Why? Shorten Sawai Mansingh Stadium and you get SMS. Life gets more tech friendly and since July 2013, the stadium and grounds could be seen with the help of Google Street View. Besides being the playground of Rajasthan Royals, there is a little bit of peace attached to this green space too. SMS stadium hosted the solitary test match between India and Pakistan in February 1987. And the then President of Pakistan General Zia-ul-Haq had come over to watch the second day’s play as part of his ‘Cricket for Peace’ initiative. The game was stopped as it began raining on the third day and Pakistan had some objections.
This is also the ground where Younis Ahmed’s returned to the world of Test matches after an absence of over 17 years. It is here that Sunil Gavaskar was dismissed on the first ball of the Test match, for the third time in his illustrious career.
On October2, 1983, India and Pakistan played their first ODI here and India won. There have been World Cup matches here in 1987 and 1996. The last ODI played here was between India and New Zealand on December 2010.
The highest ODI total here is 362-1 by India against Australia in 2013-14.
The lowest ODI total is 135 by India against Pakistan.
The highest individual score in ODI is 183 by Mahendra Singh Dhoni (not out) on October 31, 2006.
I believe SMS stadium was renovated for Rs 400 crore in 2006 and new facilities added were media rooms, galleries, two new blocks, cricket academy, gym, restaurant, two conference halls and swimming pool. So Pink City, next time I am there, this is going to be my first stop to experience cricket.
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