A sea of blue has transformed the Sawai Man Singh Stadium into a resplendent cricket theatre. Voted the best IPL ground in 2012 and 2013, the venue has sprung back to life, thanks to the dedicated ground staff, led by BCCI curator Taposh Chatterjee.
With its return to the IPL fold, the stadium has geared up to give the fans in this city a first-hand experience of watching the T20 razzmatazz at one of the best-maintained cricket venues in the country. For four years, from 2014, the stadium was taken off the IPL circuit because of Rajasthan Cricket Association’s (RCA) confrontation with the BCCI.
Even though cricketers from the state were not deprived of playing of BCCI-conducted tournaments, the venue was out of bounds for IPL, following the suspension of Rajasthan Royals for two editions (2016 and 2017).
Winner of the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008, Rajasthan Royals, especially its fans, were starved of the T20 carnival. They were tough times and it was tougher for the curator to keep the venue in a decent shape to host big matches. Chatterjee did not lose hope, and backed by his staff, worked to give the players a venue which matched the others in the country.
The staff worked without salary for months but did not give up. The dark days gave way to a bright opening this season when Rajasthan Royals returned to IPL and the workers put in hours of tireless expertise to restore the aesthetic value of the venue.
Blue was the chosen colour as the Sawai Man Singh Stadium wore a vibrant look even as the lush green outfield marked the playing field so stunningly away from the seated areas.
The happiest persons were the unsung ground staff of the stadium. There was work for them and in turn the excitement was back. The venue became a source of inspiration for Rajasthan Royals’ triumphant comeback after the jolt in the opening match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
There is a clamour for tickets and the loyal fans anticipate a thriller against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday. Chatterjee and his band of workers have laid out impeccable playing conditions with a fervent prayer on their lips — no rain interruption as witnessed in the last match here against Delhi Daredevils. The fans deserve a full game.