“Coimbatore is starved of quality entertainment in sports,” says D. Lakshminarayanaswamy, Managing Trustee of SNR Sons Charitable Trust. We are at the newly inaugurated turf wicket cricket grounds of Coimbatore District Cricket Association at Sri Ramakrishna College of Arts and Sciences.
The facility, approved by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association and the BCCI, will host the upcoming edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) matches, a first for Coimbatore. The ground has five centre wickets and a 73-metre boundary line as per international standards. The ground with G2 Bermuda grass is maintained with treated water from the institutions. “It needs a lot of watering. We wanted to ensure that we don’t use up the ground water, not even a drop of it,” he says.
There is a pavilion for the teams, rooms for umpires, third umpires, match referees, and other officials. A temporary pavilion for nearly 10, 000 spectators is coming up. Work is progressing at a good pace to ready the ground in time for the TNPL.
The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association is keen to develop cricket outside Chennai, says Lakshminarayanaswamy adding that the TNPL inauguration ceremony will be held here. The first seven matches are scheduled to be played here. The flood lights, camera stands, and so on are getting ready. “We have prepared sporting wickets and three board matches have already been played here,” he says. There was rain during one of the matches and to the relief of the organisers, the water completely drained out as the rainwater harvesting systems are in place.
The matches were held after the BCCI cleared the ground as being suitable. A little away is the nets complex with six turf wickets. “This will ensure that even while a match is going on, other teams can have their practice sessions. The complex is used by over 50 youngsters every day for training. The space is also used for selections of district teams (from under-14 to senior categories).”
Former Indian wicket keeper, Kiran More has given a positive feedback to the facility. He was here recently to select teams for Gulf Oil. “Kiran More selected 15 members from a crowd of 600. After the selection, he commented that it is one of the finest facilities he has seen in the country,” he says.
More on CDCA
- Coimbatore District Cricket Association (CDCA) was founded in 1958 by G. K. Sundaram and R. Krishnaswamy. It has seen tremendous transformation over the years. It is one of the district associations in the State to hold league matches from June to March
- Recalling his 25-year association with CDCA, Lakshminarayanaswamy says top players like Sachin Tendulkar , Kapil Dev, Manoj Prabhakar and Srikanth have played zonal matches in Coimbatore in the 90s. “ Now, they are eager to come and have a look at our facility.”
- Every year, CDCA conducts camps, league matches and as many as 10 tournaments for all age categories. They have exclusive tournaments in which over 40 schools participate. They also provide coaching support
- CDCA conducts six division league matches. There are 10 teams in each division which makes it 60 clubs. Over 3000 people are actively playing the sport in the district. To know more, call: 63809-43877 or e-mail: [email protected]l.com
Lakshminarayanaswamy who is also the president of the Coimbatore District Cricket Association says they want to see more cricket here in the coming years. Board matches, Ranji trophy… are all on the anvil. “We want to give a fillip to women’s cricket. We already have about 15 to 20 girls, mostly from the neighbouring schools, who train here at the nets regularly. Our vision is to create a woman’s cricket league. With the Indian women’s team doing well abroad, girls are inspired. We identify and coach talent in a scientific manner.”
It took them six months of intense work to develop the facility. “N. Srinivasan, former ICC Chairman inaugurated it and the first question he asked was if we could host an IPL match here. We want to have one IPL match every year. As the space is within the city, it is easy for the crowds.” Lakshminarayanaswamy likens the maintenance of the ground to raising a child. He says the ground requires constant care.
Many industrialists from Coimbatore chipped in with funds. “Other sporting associations should tap into CSRs and get funds to host sporting events. Also, develop infrastructure as it is important to prepare the students for the national and state level. There is enough and more opportunities in sport, be it table tennis, shuttle, badminton, hockey, football or kabaddi. We want to work on it.”
Public support is important, he insists. “We are looking forward to the TNPL matches. We want the people to have a good time. Parents are keen now to encourage their children in sports. Students should continue playing sports, beyond their college days to keep themselves fit. There is a career in sports too. Not just in playing, but also in sports management, coaching…”
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