Sports

Pune Gears Up for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup After 27 Years

Anticipation is mounting at Gahunje's Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium as Pune readies itself to host the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, marking a comeback after an absence of 27 years.

Historic Clash: India vs. Bangladesh on October 19

When India faces Bangladesh on October 19, it will be a historic moment as it will be the first-ever World Cup match involving India played at a Pune stadium. In addition to this thrilling encounter, the stadium will host four more matches:

  1. Afghanistan vs. Sri Lanka on October 30
  2. New Zealand vs. South Africa on November 1
  3. England vs. Netherlands on November 8
  4. Australia vs. Bangladesh on November 12

Stadium Upgrade in Preparation

Ajinkya Joshi, Chief Operating Officer of MCA, expressed the collective excitement, stating, “We have hosted 60 major events, including IPL, but this is a mega event. We are very excited.”

In preparation for these prestigious matches, the stadium is undergoing a significant facelift, the first since its inauguration in April 2012.

Stadium Revamp

“While Gahunje stadium has been well-maintained, this international event has prompted us to upgrade the stadium for the first time in the last 11 years. The entire stadium is receiving a fresh coat of paint, a new cover shed is being installed, and landscaping is being finely tuned.” Joshi noted that approximately 120 workers are dedicated to this effort, with the work expected to be completed on schedule.

Positive Feedback from ICC and BCCI Officials

“The ICC and BCCI officials conducted a two-day inspection visit on Wednesday and Thursday to assess the progress, and they are satisfied,” added Joshi.

Traffic Management and Additional Parking

To prevent traffic congestion around the stadium, approximately 20 hectares of land have been rented from local villagers to supplement existing parking space. “Service roads will be repaired before the matches to avoid any inconvenience to visitors,” Joshi assured.

High Demand for Tickets

Shubhendra Bhandarkar, MCA Secretary, reported that ticket sales have already begun, and there is significant demand. “Tickets are selling out quickly after bookings opened. Our seating capacity is 42,000, but due to stricter ICC regulations regarding seating, it may be reduced to around 32,000,” he explained.

Rain-Resilient Ground

MCA officials are confident that rain will not be a major disruption, thanks to the sand-based ground with excellent drainage capacity. Bhandarkar stated, “Even if it rains, play can resume half an hour after the rain stops. The ground dries very quickly.”

Rohit Pawar’s Efforts Bear Fruit

Rohit Pawar, the honorary president of MCA, played a pivotal role in securing the matches for the city. Bhandarkar acknowledged, “Thanks to MCA Honorary President Rohit Pawar’s efforts, the city is hosting five World Cup matches.”

A Treat for Cricket Enthusiasts

MCA has also arranged a special treat for cricket enthusiasts: a trophy parade from the Marriot Hotel on Senapati Bapat Road to the College of Agriculture, featuring the participation of international players. Additionally, a World Cup trophy will be on display at the College of Agriculture on September 26 for cricket lovers to admire.

Trophy Parade and Spectacular Display

Rohit Pawar, President of MCA, emphasized, “As part of the glorious tradition of Indian cricket, a procession of the ICC World Cup 2023 trophy will be held in Pune in the presence of international Indian players, MCA officials, Indian team players, and captains of the Maharashtra Cricket Team, among others. The trophy will then be showcased for spectators at the grounds of Agriculture College in Shivajinagar.”

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