ICL’s Panchkula stadium is an overnight wonder

By Jaideep Sarin, IANS

Panchkula (Haryana) : If the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex cricket stadium were a stock, it would have risen sharply in a handful of sessions. The stadium has undergone a complete makeover in a matter to about five weeks.

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What stands here is a ground and a stadium that is comparable to any good cricketing ground even though its spectator capacity remains just over 6,000. The rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) wants to put up a spectacular show for its inaugural Twenty20 Indian championship.

“I have never seen things happen so fast. When I came here two days ago, there was nothing, just a lot of labourers. The stadium now has floodlights, stands, ground fencing, grass, a performance stage and the setting up of an electronic screen is almost complete. This is amazing,” pointed out a journalist from a leading Kolkata newspaper as he witnessed last minute activity in complete awe.

Rolls of grass were brought in by the organisers from nurseries neighbouring Chandigarh and Mohali also. Within a matter of hours they had been laid to give the place a lush green look.

The ground itself has a lush green look and the ICL management ensured the best in the business to do the pitches for the championship. “We hired the best professionals from around the globe to do the square (pitches). I can assure you that the pitches will be extraordinary,” said Ashish Kaul, Executive Vice President of Essel group, which is promoting the ICL.

“We had a job at hand and we are happy to have accomplished that. Resources were never a problem but getting things are and putting them up was a race against time,” Kaul added.

The ICL took over the stadium in mid-Oct and was giving finishing touches to the entire stadium till Thursday, a day before its 17-day championship gets underway. The stadium offers a beautiful backdrop of the Himalayan range.

The newly made media box with state-of-the-art facilities is unique too – it is housed in shipping containers converted into a luxury facility from inside.

Foreign professionals could be seen lifting ladders, wires and other equipment to put things in place for the event along with the local labour force.