Thiruvananthapuram looks forward to T20 international match
By Adwaidh Rajan | Express News Service | Published: 04th August 2017 08:40 AM |
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Though the first seeds of cricket in Kerala was sown in the coastal town of Thalassery in North Kerala, its capital city Thiruvananthapuram has an equally illustrious history when it comes to the game as it hosted the first two international cricket matches in Kerala soil at the University Stadium in 1984 and 1988. While the first ODI in Kerala was a washed out affair between Sunil Gavaskar’s India and Kim Hughes’ Australia, the second ODI saw a strong West Indies side, featuring the likes of Viv Richards and Richie Richardson, trouncing the home side led by current India coach Ravi Shastri by nine wickets.
But, since then, Thiruvananthapuram had to settle for just a Under-19 ‘youth test’ between India and Australia at the Agricultural College Ground in Vellayani which featured V V S Laxman, Bret Lee, Andrew Symonds and Michael Hussey who would later go on to make a name for themselves in international cricket. So, it comes as no surprise that the cricketing fraternity in the city is excited and looking forward to the Twenty20 showdown between India and New Zealand at the Greenfield International Stadium in Kariavattom on November 7- the big day advanced from December 20 after BCCI rescheduled the fixture the other day.
For cricket statistician S N Sudhir Aly, the memories are still fresh of that last ODI in the city. “I still remember watching Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath and Shastri. Kris Srikkanth scored a century for India, but Phil Simmons was unstoppable that day as Windies cruised to victory,” reminisced Aly.
“The way the players conducted themselves and the spirit in the both camps stayed with you for long. So, it is exciting to know that international cricket is making a comeback to the city which will definitely inspire a whole new generation of cricket enthusiasts,” said Aly, who was the official scorer of that match in 1988.
Amith Sidharth, a city-based cricketer, is looking forward to seeing some of the best cricketers in the world. “I am super excited to watch a T20 international in our own backyard. It will definitely be a great experience and will be a boost for young cricketers who will get to see their idols up close,” said Amith, who had previously been a ball boy during the India versus England ODI in Kochi. “I will be going for the match, no doubt, and it going to be an amazing experience,” said 14-year-old Rohan Nair. Vishnu U P, a member of the Indian blind cricket team that won the Blind World Cup in 2014 expects more matches to be played in the city in the coming years.
“Finally we have a stadium that matches international standards. I hope the India - New Zealand game will be the first of many to be played in the city. After the T20, I hope we get more ODIs and Test matches,” said Vishnu. “If I get the tickets for the game, I will definitely attend,” he added. K N Ananthapadmanabhan, the former Kerala captain, said the T20I match will give a huge fillip to the cricketing scene in the capital.
“This will inspire a lot of youngsters to take up the sport. Watching a match at the stadium is a great experience for people connected with the game,” said the former left-arm spinner. Ananthan, who is now a regular as an on-field umpire in Indian Premier League matches, hopes to one day officiate a game in his hometown. “At the moment, I am not eligible to umpire a T20 international match. But in the future, if everything goes right, it will be a proud moment to do so in Thiruvananthapuram,” he said. “As the opposition is New Zealand who has some fan favourites like Brendon McCullum, there will be a lot of interest in the match and we will see a houseful crowd,” said coach Shine S S. “We are going to see a lot of runs in a match between two strong sides. I am confident more matches are coming our way,” added Shine.
“This is something that we have been waiting for years now. And we are unfazed that the match is happening a little earlier now that the BCCI decided to move the New Zealand T20 out of Cuttack due to the Puri Beach Festival. We will be ready,” said Vinod S Kumar, secretary of the Thiruvananthapuram District Cricket Association.