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Uppal stadium work on course

By V.V. Subrahmanyam

HYDERABAD, SEPT. 14. Everything seems to be falling in place at the new Uppal Cricket Stadium here, venue of the three-day match between Australia and Ranji Trophy champion, Mumbai, from September 30 to October 2.

A visit to the site of the Rs.53-crore project gives a clear picture that the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) is leaving no stone unturned for the occasion. The HCA team, led by its secretary and former Test off-spinner, N. Shivlal Yadav, is determined to present the cricket world India's newest international match venue. According to Yadav, the focus is on getting the stadium ready for the three-day match as part of the first phase at a cost of Rs.20 crore.

With the pavilions nearing completion and flooring of the entrance hall, to be named after former president of HCA and now the A.P. government's Chief Secretary, Mohan Kanda, there seems to be no stopping. "We are confident of not only hosting the match against the Australians but also completing the entire project, which includes floodlighting, by June next year," said Yadav.

Project Manager P. Ramesh pointed out that as a precautionary measure, safety barricades are being put up for the match to ensure no stampede takes place. With the sprinklers and the underground drainage system already in place, there is little to worry even if there is heavy rain, he said. The pitch is being done under the supervision of curator Gopal and there will be four practice wickets apart from the main pitch.

Yadav informed that entry for the spectators will be free and only VIPs and some select people will have access to the main block housing the commentary boxes, umpire rooms, dressing rooms and the media boxes. "We have decided that not a single fan crosses over or pose any problem to the cricketers. They have separate entry and exit gates for the match," he said when asked about the security aspect. Two manual scoreboards — electronic boards will come up later — will be erected.

Yadav also informed that the state government has decided to allot an additional seven acres of land to HCA, in addition to the 16 acres for the stadium, which he said would be used for parking and recreational facilities like tennis courts, swimming pool and a health club to give the 23-acre site a totally new look by Sept. 20. He is contemplating two practice games on Sept. 15 and 18 with players drawn from Hyderabad to get a feel of the main pitch.

The Uppal Stadium, to be named after a corporate group which promises Rs.7.5 crore, will usher in a new chapter in Indian cricketing history.

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